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The Facebook Powerball Lottery Hoax

Claim- "The winner of the Powerball lottery is giving away one million dollars to some of the people who like and share this photo," typically accompanied by a picture of someone holding a seemingly legit copy of the winning ticket. So far there has been at least two such images of people going by the names of Nolan Daniels or Sokhavy Hilton that are making these claims, although there may be more.


Verdict- False. The first clue that something is a scam is when you see the words "like and share" in something circulating on Facebook, especially with the promise of a reward for doing so. Although the tickets do show the actual numbers, they are not in the correct order. The Powerball Lottery states in their FAQ that "The tickets print the white ball numbers (the first five numbers) in numerical order" which these are not, proving that something is amiss. The names associated with the pictures are also not the names of the official winners that have been identified by multiple news outlets.

So why would someone bother doing this? As with many scams, there's usually a reason behind it. Sometimes it's simply to get attention, sometimes it's to make money, among other reasons. Pages with a lot of Facebook "Likes" can be bought and sold to others to make their pages appear more popular and legitimate, and the practice seems to be gaining ground despite being unethical. Nolan Daniels (the guy with the beard in the photo above) claims that he did it as a "social experiment" to see how many people simply click "like" on something without bothering to check it's legitimacy, and has since apologized for the hoax. He collected over 400,000 "likes" in the first 18 hours the image was posted, with over 2 million people sharing the image on their walls.

Sources/More Reading
Fake Lottery Ticket May Be Facebook's Most Shared Photo (CNN)
Nolan Daniels Giveaway (Snopes)
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