Calm down, world. Contrary to the rumors that may have sprouted up in your news feed, Facebook willnot shut down on March 15th, and Mark Zuckerberg is not suffering a nervous breakdown of Shakespearean proportions.
As Sophos explains, the rumor appears to have originated from a site called Weekly World News -- where, it should be noted, you can also read about Mike Tyson's pigeon fetish, Glenn Beck's relocation to China, and an alien invasion set to strike Earth in 2011. A story published on the site quotes CEO Mark Zuckerberg as saying that "managing [Facebook] has ruined my life. I need to put an end to all the madness." That, according to reporter J.B. Smitts, is precisely why the world's most popular social network will close its doors on the Ides of March.
"I personally don't think it's a big deal," Zuckerberg allegedly told Smitts in a "private phone interview." "And to be honest, I think it's for the better. Without Facebook, people will have to go outside and make real friends. That's always a good thing." Avrat Humarthi, Facebook's Vice President of Technical Affairs, warned, "[I]f you ever want to see your pictures again, I recommend you take them off the Internet. You won't be able to get them back once Facebook goes out of business."
Zuckerberg, of course, never uttered such a thing, and the story itself is total B.S. For whatever reason, though, many Facebook users have taken the rumor at face value, and have spread it across the Web, via a spate of apocalyptic Wall posts and status updates. The story became so viral, in fact, that Facebook even felt compelled to debunk it, with a tweet that read: "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."