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How did the rumor about Facebook shutting down start?

Since January 8, 2011, there was a fast spreading rumor that said that Facebook was going to shut down on March 15, 2011, because its creator Mark Zuckerberg found managing the site too stressful.

The oldest question about this rumor on Yahoo Answers made reference to a post of January 8 by the satirical Weekly World News, which seems to be the one that started the rumor.

The creation of the rumor seems to be the result of the mixture of two different real news. The first one is the announcing by Yahoo that its service Yahoo Video would be closing down on March 15, 2011, and the second one was an opinion article published on CNN in which the author saw a recent investment in Facebook as the “beginning of the end” for this company. This was because, in his opinion, the investment was a sign of Facebook being cashing out.

As indeed Goldman Sachs had recently invested $500 million dollars in Facebook, some people stated that, besides being false, the rumor was also ridiculous. In fact, Facebook responded the rumor ironically with a tweet that said, "We didn't get the memo about shutting down, so we'll keep working away. We aren't going anywhere; we're just getting started."

This was not the first time that Facebook was mentioned in a massive rumor. In fact, the home page of Facebook says, "It's free, and always will be" since the date stated by a previous rumor for Facebook to start charging its users.

Maybe some March 15 the home page will say “It's free, and always will be, and we are not closing anytime soon.”

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