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David Emery

Haiti Relief Hoaxes Spread via Twitter, Facebook

By January 14, 2010

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A reader asks if this Facebook posting is true:

UPS is shipping anything under 50lbs for free to Haiti. You can send food, clothes or shoes... and American Airlines is taking doctors and nurses to Haiti for free. Please call 212-697-9767. Spread the word... Red Cross needs Creole speaking volunteers for a 24hr phone bank... Call Mr. Wilfrid @ 303-776-6900 ASAP... Please repost.

The same rumors are circulating in briefer form on Twitter:

UPS IS SHIPPING TO HAITI FOR FREE TOday!! IT HAS TO BE UNDER 50 lbs!! If you have ANYTHING to give, round up your stuff ...
AMERICAN AIRLINES is taking doctors and nurses to Haiti for free. Please call 212 697-9767. Spread the word. Thanks!

NOT true, say spokespersons for UPS and American Airlines.

"On Twitter," writes Debbie Curtis-Magley on the UPS Blog, "some have mistakenly shared a rumor that UPS will ship for free any package under 50 lbs. to Haiti. The destruction of roads and communications networks means our own shipping services to Haiti are on hold. Rather than offer free shipping to individual donors, UPS directs its aid through relief agencies."

"Last night's hoax on Twitter about American and JetBlue flying doctors and nurses to Haiti for free was just that -- a hoax," wrote American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith in an email quoted on CNN.Com. "We don't know who is responsible, but it's a very low thing to do."

Also, the FBI warns Internet users who receive requests for charitable donations on behalf of earthquake victims to "apply a critical eye and do their due diligence" before responding. "Past tragedies and natural disasters have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause."

Update: HOAX: Facebook Donates $1 per Status Update to Haiti Relief

Read more:
Twitter Hoax Spreads Rumors of Airlines' Free Flights to Haiti
UPS Donates $1 Million to Haitian Relief
FBI: Haitian Earthquake Relief Fraud Alert
Twitter and Facebook Users Respond to Haiti Crisis
How to Avoid Haiti Earthquake Aid Scams
How to Help Earthquake Victims in Haiti


January 16, 2010 at 11:33 am
(1) Mocky says:

I also saw a posting today that facebook owners will donate $1 for each copy paste of the posting. can’t find any confirmation that it’s true.

January 16, 2010 at 12:08 pm
(2) Andrei says:

I believe the new one Mocky is talking about looks like:

Too All Members, if you believe in helping people lets do this: PLEASE NOTE that this status is being tracked, the owners of facebook have confirmed they will send $1 to the rescue fund for the Haiti earthquake disaster for everytime this is cut and pasted as a status. You only have to leave it for a minimum of 1 hour. Lets all do our bit to help. Thank you

This started popping up on my hompage on 01/15/10.

January 16, 2010 at 12:14 pm
(3) David Emery says:

The $1-per-status-update notice is a hoax. More info here.

January 18, 2010 at 6:40 am
(4) Instant Kaamos says:

This makes me very angry. I got interested in the UPS hoax after I received a text message from a friend telling me that UPS were shipping to Haiti for free and (that tell-tale sign) asking me to send it on to everyone I knew.

Embarrassing for her but when you think what she paid in charges for sending those texts could have gone to the relief effort itself, not to mention the time that aid agencies will waste fielding calls from misled people, it’s actually quite serious. It’s a pity that the people who start such rumours never get caught but I do wonder how they live with themselves.

January 21, 2010 at 9:10 am
(5) Titus Asbury says:

I think every effort should be used to find people like this and give them a choice to go and help in the rescue and burials and live in the area for the rest of their lives or take poison and kill themselves. Society does not need these kind of creatures

January 24, 2010 at 1:38 pm
(6) Wendy says:

Thank you so much for these alerts. It is so unfortunate that spammers take advantage of these situations, but we so appreciate that you are on it! Wendy

June 2, 2010 at 4:10 am
(7) low spread says:

Yeah, those people has no moral conduct what so ever. They should be sent to a black hole in siberia.

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