14-Year-Old Shot or Beaten by Stepfather?

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Facebook Hoax: Donations for Boy Abused by Stepfather

14 year old boy got beaten half dead
Netlore Archive: Viral posts claim Facebook has promised to donate 45 cents every time this message is shared. Facebook.com

Description: Viral post / Facebook hoax
Circulating since: November 2011
Status: False (details below)

Example #1:
As shared on Facebook, Oct. 28, 2011:

14 YEAR OLD BOY WAS SHOT 6 TIMES BY HIS STEPFATHER, THIS BOY WAS PROTECTING HIS LITTLE 2 YEAR OLD SISTER WHO WAS ABOUT TO BE RAPED BY THIS POOR EXCUSE OF A MAN. THE LITTLE GIRL DID NOT GET HURT THANKS TO HER BRAVE OLDER BROTHER. THEIR MOM WAS AT WORK WHEN ALL THIS HAPPENED. NOW THIS BRAVE YOUNG MAN IS FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE, BUT DOCTORS SAY HE WILL NOT SURVIVE UNLESS HE GETS AN OPERATION WHICH IS VERY COSTFUL AND WHICH HIS MOM CANNOT PAY. ALL FACEBOOK COMPANIES HAVE AGREED TO DONATE 45 CENTS FOR EVERY TIME SOMEONE POSTS THIS TO THEIR WALL, SO PLEASE PASTE AND PASS THIS ON SO THAT TOGETHER WE CAN HELP SAVE THIS BOYS LIFE


Example #2:
As shared on Facebook, Nov. 14, 2011:

A 14 years old boy got beaten half dead by his stepfather. He only tried to protect his little sister from being raped. Now he's struggling for his life, but doctors say he won't make it without a surgery. His mother doesn't have money to pay it. Facebook donates 45 cents for every sharing or reposting. Please help.


Analysis: The injured child in the photograph isn't named, nor is any date or location specified where the abuse supposedly took place. Indeed, the above postings contain no corroborating information whatsoever, yet we're supposed to believe Facebook has promised to donate money to defray the victim's medical costs every time the message is shared.

Moreover, at least two different versions of the story exist. One claims the victim was "beaten half dead" by his stepfather. The other claims he was "shot six times."

What isn't wrong with this picture?

Like previous viral messages falsely claiming that companies or charities will donate specific amounts each time someone forwards or shares the plea, this is a blatant hoax. Facebook has announced no such commitment. Nor would it. No reputable companies or organizations use chain letters to collect or distribute charitable funds.

In addition to being a hoax (i.e., intentionally false information), the posts exemplify what's known as a "like-farming" scam. Perpetrators of these scams take advantage of people's good intentions to make social media posts go viral by soliciting likes and shares.

Image of Injured Child Was Stolen from a Czech Newspaper

As to the image that appears in many of the posts purporting to show the alleged victim of parental violence, it appears to have been copied and pasted from a May 19, 2010 article in the Czech tabloid newspaper Blesk describing a criminal attack by multiple assailants on a 13-year-old boy in Teplice, Czech Republic. There is no information indicating the victim's injuries were the result of parental abuse of any kind.