Pablo Reyes posted this status recently on his Facebook account. Only if you look at it, it would seem like he actually posted it last December. In the status he makes all kinds of predictions, including the death of Harambe the gorilla, Prince, and Muhammad Ali.
Reyes' post went super viral — it's been shared over 170,000 times. It looks like some people figured out how he faked the whole thing, but it seemed like a good amount of the folks coming across the status took it at face value.
So here's how you do it. You write out your mysterious prediction of something that happened and set the date for way back in the past on your timeline. It's the little clock icon on your Facebook wall.
Hit post and voila! It's now way back on your timeline. Facebook even asks if you want to notify people about the post.
Also, our readers have pointed out a second way to do it, as well. Which is literally just editing an old post. Here's screenshots of Reyes' before and after.
Considering how far Reyes' status has spread, BuzzFeed News asked him if he felt like he was duping people. He said the only thing that bothers him is how people on Facebook believe everything they read.
"I feel like people — I don't want to call people dumb — but I think it's up to the people to kind of make the decisions about what they hear and what they're being told," he said.
Interestingly, this isn't the first time Reyes has created massively shared hoaxes on Facebook.
Until recently, Reyes was working at Huzlers, a super-popular fake news site. "We used to make fictional articles," he said. "We had a couple articles that were shared over 100 million times."
BuzzFeed News has written previously about the huge network of fake news sites that Facebook is currently trying to remove from people's News Feeds:
BuzzFeed News' analysis covered the following nine sites: National Report, Huzlers, Empire News, The Daily Currant, I Am Cream Bmp, CAP News, NewsBiscuit.com, Call the Cops, and World News Daily Report. All nine were drawn from the "Fake/Hoax News Websites" section of fakenewswatch.com, and were still actively publishing fake news after being listed. ...
Huzlers, the website that fabricated a gang war, saw engagement for public posts linking to its content across Facebook go from 294.9 per post in January 2015 to 340.6 in mid-December. At one point in November 2015, public links to Huzlers content on Facebook garnered 1,000.7 engagements per post.
Reyes said that he doesn't think hoaxes on Facebook are the media's responsibility or even Facebook's problem.
"It's hard for me to explain to you how I feel about the situation, but I think I blame people," he said. "I kind of feel like people are to blame."
(H/T Elena Cresci)
Ryan Broderick is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Ryan Broderick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.