Home Archive MSN Messenger 500,000 Signatures Hoax

MSN Messenger 500,000 Signatures Hoax

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
Email forward claims that MSN will start charging a monthly fee for its Messenger service if 500,000 “signatures” are not received by September 14th, 2005


Status:
False

Example:
FW: Please Read THIS. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT

MSN is planning to take away MSN Messenger by September 14th, 2005. If you want to keep our MSN Messenger free of charge, send this email to everyone you know. It will be used as a petition. Each person you send this to counts as one signature. If this petition gets 500,000 signatures they will keep MSN Messenger. If they do not receive 500,000 votes you will have to pay £5.00 to have Messenger (per month). If you don’t care about this then please for everyone’s sake help out a little. Thank you for your time and consideration and please help MSN beat their vote PLEASE – Copy and paste this onto a new letter add you name below and send it to EVERYONE you know. I don’t want to have to pay for it. Do you???????



Detailed Analysis:
The message shown above is just the latest version of an aging hoax. Some person (read moron) has been kind enough to plug in a current date. Otherwise, the hoax is virtually identical to versions that have been circulating since 1998. MSN has not announced plans to start charging for its free MSN Messenger service. Even if the company did consider charging for the service, it certainly would not base its decision on how many times a particular email was forwarded.

The hoax message claims that the message “will be used as a petition” and that every person who receives the message “counts as one signature”. However, the message does not say how these “signatures” will be counted. No central collection point for all the “votes” is specified. The implication is that the messages will be somehow reliably tracked over the course of many thousands of successive forwards. Such claims are pure nonsense and not even Microsoft could manage such a feat.

A very similar hoax also targets AOL Instant Message users.

These messages do nothing more than clutter inboxes and waste bandwidth. If you receive one of these emails, please delete it and inform the sender that the message is a hoax.


Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer