‘Parents Can’t Afford Surgery’ Sick Baby Hoax: Fake Facebook-CNN Donation Posts Proliferate

February 24, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

Viral Facebook messages with a photo of a sick baby claiming his “parents can’t afford surgery” and so by sharing, “liking,” or commenting on the post, Facebook and CNN will donate to paying for half. Another one says the baby was in a car accident.

One example shows a baby whose face is severely disfigured and says, “This baby got in a terrible care [sic] accident And his parents dont have the money to support the surgery so facebook an CNN are willing the pay half the expenses , facebook is donating money for every like , share , comment.”

The baby actually suffers from anencephaly, a fatal birth defect. According to a WMCTV report, the baby is from Tennessee and died several years ago.

And another one shows a baby looking at the camera, with a post that says, “Please Dont Ignore ! His parents can’t afford surgery so facebook and cnn are paying half of the expenses.” 1 like – $1, 1 comment – 10$, 1 share – 100$”

Both images were stolen from their original source and are being used without permission.

Such scams have been around for years and they are designed to generate traffic and popularity for a Facebook page

As Hoax-Slayer says, “The image of the child was apparently stolen from a 2012 blog post that discussed the baby’s surgery. The blog’s author published the photo and other information about the baby that was sent to her by the child’s mother. Neither the blog’s author nor the child’s parents would have ever intended or imagined that the child’s image would later be used in such a disgraceful hoax.”

“The more likes, comments, and shares the page receives, the more popular it becomes on Facebook. Rather than posting engaging content, unscrupulous page admins attempt to take the easy route by posting photos of sick children and asking for likes or shares, with the implication that this will somehow help the ailing child. In most cases, the children pictured have long since left the hospital – or passed away in some cases,” reads WafflesatNoon, a hoax-debunking website.

If you see these two posts, it’s best to ignore it or report it as Facebook spam. If you’e already shared it, it’s recommended to delete it.