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How to spot a fake breast cancer campaign


fake scams, bizarre status comments on facebook, breast cancerA bizarre chain message circulating on Facebook claims to be in support of breast cancer awareness.

But why do people believe it?

The text is as follows:

“You should not have liked or commented! Now you have to pick one of the 14 below and post to your status this is the 2014 breast cancer awareness game don’t be a spoil sport choose your poison and change your status
1) damn diarrhea
2) just used my boobs to get out of a speeding ticket 3) anyone have a tampon I’m out
4) how do u get rid of foot fungus
5) why is nobody around when I’m horny
6) no toilet paper goodbye socks!
7) someone offered me a job as a prostitute but I’m hesitant
8) I think I’m in love with someone what should I do ?
9) I’ve decided 2 stop wearing underwear
10) I still love my ex
11) I really don’t know how 2 tell anyone and I’m sick of hiding it I’m gay
12) guess it was 2 good 2 b true I’m pregnant
13) just won £7000 on a scratchy
14) I’ve just found out I’ve been cheated on for the past 5 months.
Post with no explanations. Sorry I fell for it too! Sorry and haha! Looking forward to your post! X”

For those of us who are somewhat savvy in how these things work, this is clearly a hoax.

Firstly, there is no link to a donation button, website, or indeed anything to support the claim that a “breast cancer awareness game” even exists.

Secondly, if you think about it for even a few seconds, there is no way that changing a status to absolute nonsense is going to help cancer awareness, especially if you aren’t allowed to post explanations.

Thirdly, always check Snopes; this message sounds very similar to the bra colour post that went round a year or so ago.

Thankfully, this kind of thing is often harmless; at worst, you’ll have to do some explaining to your nearest and dearest.

But you have to wonder what on earth the motive could be for passing this kind of thing around; there seems to be no concrete benefit to the sender, not even a badly-disguised link to a virus.

The only thing I can think of is that the original sender has a puerile sense of humour and would like to see their Facebook friends post embarrassing statuses for no reason.

This is of course not to say that you should ignore everything on social media that claims to raise awareness for breast cancer; the recent fundraising campaign #nomakeupselfie has so far raised £2 million, as well as igniting the debate of why women feel that not wearing make-up is something daring and brave.

That is the kind of campaign to trust. It has sources, serious stories, and a proper organisation backing it up. Don’t succumb to an online practical joke.

  1. Today was the second time I’d fallen for this one (in my own defense, it was quite a while ago since the first one). Both “friends” used the status of winning $900 via scratch tickets. That’s the ONLY one of those statuses that I don’t find offensive and incredibly immature. So, I foolishly responded with “Lucky!” or something like that and I get the obnoxious post telling me I “have to” now pick and post one of the offensive statuses to annoy/trick the rest of my FB friends. And all to raise awareness of breast cancer? How? I’m well-aware of breast cancer, having had family members go through the challenges, treatments and anxiety/fear of it all…Furthermore, I don’t “have to” post anything I don’t want to post, whether that means I’m being a “spoil sport” or not. Infuriating! I’m not responding to the post at all on FB.

  2. Miriam Ryan says:

    Oh dear, such a big fuss… the idea of posting an alarming status to bring attention to the fact that many women forget to check their breasts cannot be all bad. After all, people can choose what they post and it was a relative whose mother was battling breast cancer who sent it to me; so there was no way I was going to refuse. Women who are struggling with breast cancer want to remind as many women as possible of the importance of self examination and, most importantly, they want the discussion to remain a priority in the media.

    Although Maureen above has had painful personal experience with this issue, she fails to realize that women who have not been affected by breast cancer are simply not as vigilant… to their bitter regret.

    So let’s not be so quick to pour vitriol on any woman who is simply trying to raise awareness… she may actually be a victim.

    • anonymous says:

      You seriously think this is the best way to make people aware of such a sensitive and serious subject. I’m a survivor of throat cancer, I’d prefer people were made aware in a more informative way. Just give people the facts and inform them about what they need to do. I admit I got through mine with humour, but this isn’t what I’d describe as humorous. Sometimes when we haven’t quite got it right,we need to realise and just accept we got it wrong instead of trying to justify it. It takes courage and inner strength to admit, it’s also what we use when we fight cancer. Yes it has brought about conversation, but no one is any wiser about the true facts about cancer. Let’s find a more useful and productive way to promote awareness. Sometimes the timing of receiving these chain mails can be very painful for some people. Sometimes we need to think outside the box. Best wishes ❤

    • I have had this message tonight on facebook and it made me aware that I don’t check myself anywhere near enough and has me googling how to check myself.

      I’m just one person… surely others are doing it too, that has to be a good thing right?

  3. Linda Kizer-Paquette says:

    As a breast cancer survivor, I didn’t get how this game was supposed to promote breast cancer awareness. I played along the first time, but got ignored except for a scathing response from my cousin, whose mom had breast cancer, reminding me of that fact, and that our grandmother had died of breast cancer. She didn’t know that both my mom and I had had breast cancer, so this gave me an opportunity to tell her. That was pretty much the only positive thing that came out of my participation last time, so this time I’m not playing. Apologies to the friend who “caught” me.

  4. Totally agree with Miriam above. The post and subsequent messages do no harm at all but do help to keep breast cancer research in the forefront of the minds of those who participate. If you don’t want to play the game .., then don’t ..too easy. To be offended by any invitation is a sad reflection of those who take life (and Facebook) far too seriously.

    • anonymous says:

      The end of the message is loaded with guilt. The only people who wouldn’t play are the people who stop and question how does this help or people just a little more sensitive to the draw backs. It’s silly to imply they have a clear choice about whether or not to play. After they’ve shared it it’s too late, can’t you see?

      • I beg to differ.

        I believe you take the view that there are major drawbacks, but I fail to see any, aside from perhaps many people posting these new status updates, which could be annoying. Nevertheless, being annoyed is not a drawback, it is an inconvenience. Thus even if it does not help people, it does not in any significant way harm people, and that’s fine by me.

        Also, just because the end of the post is laced with guilt (which is a fallacy in logic studies) does not mean everyone will take the bait. Some may, indeed, but as I maintain, taking the bait does not constitute any harm, so even if they take the bait, it is fine.

        Lastly, should we write off any benefits that might come from a simple prank? Perhaps someone who sees it ma be interested to find out more about breast cancer. Perhaps someone might think about going for a checkup. Perhaps someone might consider actually doing something better than this prank to raise awareness.

        The bottom line is that while there may be little in the way of benefits, there is certainly just as little in the way of detriments.

        I personally don’t mind if one plays the game or not. But I believe that hitting on the people who do is unfair. They are not malicious leading anyone to a scam website, nor feeding anyone misinformation. Just a harmless prank meant to make people laugh.

  5. SG Holman says:

    Hoax or no Hoax it reminded me of breast cancer awareness ( good thing), it will make millions of others aware ( good thing), it will remind millions of women to have a check up up ( good thing),it puts a smile on people’s faces some of them have breast cancer, (good thing).If you look hard enough you will find the negatives in everything in life, do things with integrity and forget the rest.Big shoutout to all women fighting breast cancer, we love you and your bodies however they appear’re all still beautiful.

    • I just fell for this prank (I will not go so far as to call it a hoax because it doesn’t scam anyone of anything).

      Thank you for this post. It’s true, it’s quite ludicrous, but at least it gets the term “breast cancer” into people’s awareness…most people will ignore it, but that one in a thousand might be inspired to do something more…

      For me, I found out it was fake after reading this article, but I will keep my post on. See how many people I can troll. Hahaha

  6. Polly Bryan says:

    I didn’t see any real harm in it. Glad it wasn’t asking for money, makes a change. And it did serve to remind people. As a post breast cancer patient I didn’t find it offensive either. Just a bit of fun, not compulsory in any way.

  7. Tracy says:

    I’ve passed the breast cancer awareness ones because without fail I have people asking what my status means which gives me the perfect opportunity to tell them what it’s for therefore raising their awareness in breast cancer. I have a friend who has stage 4 BRAC cancer and she isn’t hurt by it. She says “why would I?- I want more people to be aware of it.”

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