This weekend, the Internet became flooded with reports that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had offered to buy Facebook for $150 billion cash in an attempt to thwart tech-savvy anti-government protesters in the oil-rich Middle Eastern country.
Unfortunately for them (and possibly Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the social networking giant’s investors), the story just isn’t true.
The rumor started after the website DawnWires.com published a story with the headline, “Saudi King to buy Facebook for $150 billion to end the revolt: Goldman Sachs to advise.” The satirical lead paragraph reads:
In what is being termed as pure Wall street Gordon Gecko tactics, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has decided to make an offer of $150 billion to buy out Facebook. Inside sources within the kingdom suggest that he is very upset with Mark Zukerberg for allowing the revolt to get out of control. In a personal meeting between Mark Zuckerberg and King Abdullah on Jan 25, 2011, Zuckerberg had promised that he would not allow any revolt pages to be formed on Facebook even while he allowed Egypt and Libya revolt pages to be formed. But little did King Abdullah know Zuckerberg. Had he seen the movie “Social Network”, he would have been better advised than to trust Zuckerberg.
Of course, a story like that would catch any editor’s eye: Facebook has played a significant role in the wave of protests that have swept through the Middle East and northern African nations. And $150 billion is a hard offer for anyone to refuse.
Problem is, anyone only need read the fine print beneath the headline, which shows that the story was filed in “LOL News.” In addition, the story’s footer clearly states that it was part of Dawn Wires’ “Sunday Humor” series. “Sunday Humor article at Dawnwires.com are meant to humor our readers,” says the website at the bottom of the article page. “They may or may not be the truth.”
This story, of course, goes in the “may not be the truth” category, as Facebook has only been valued at a mere $50 billion. Which is much more believable than the ludicrous $150 billion price tag. Right?