‘800 Pound Snake Pulled out of Lake in Chicago Illinois’ Is Fake; Shows Facebook Has Work to Do

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
May 2, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

A viral scam saying an 800-pound snake was found in Chicago, Ill., is a scam.

The video doesn’t exist, and there’s been a number of Facebook scams that have used the same image of the massive snake being held up by a tractor over the years.

The photo of the snake being held up was taken in Indonesia, and is probably a reticulated python. The largest snakes in the world get to be about 550 pounds .

“Scams like this spread by tempting users into trying to access videos they’re required to share before viewing, which causes the blurbs to be republished on their own timelines and friends’ news feeds, where more users are exposed to them, and so on ad infinitum. Users who comply are then redirected to pages where they’re invited to take surveys, accept promotional offers, and/or download software — in this case, a ‘special media player codec’ — which is inadvisable, to put it mildly, given that there’s no way to know where the software is coming from or what it really does,” About.com writer David Emery says.

And while Facebook has promised to clean up spam recently, the company has a lot of work to do.

“Some stories in News Feed use inaccurate language or formatting to try and trick people into clicking through to a website that contains only ads or a combination of frequently circulated content and ads. For instance, often these stories claim to link to a photo album but instead take the viewer to a website with just ads,” Facebook said this month. 

The scammers earn affiliate cash by getting you to go to their website to download, take a survey, or via other methods, so that means they’ll keep doing it.

“So, I think Facebook has a lot of work to do still – right now the stream of information showing up in users’ newsfeeds still contains too much pollution,” writes security expert Graham Cluley.

Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.