Facebook Hoax 2013: Philippines First Recorded Snowfall

I saw this from my Facebook News Feed.

snow-pinas-3-hours

<Image capture from my facebook.com news feeds>

It was shared by some FB friends of mine. Wow! “Philippines’ First Recorded Snowfall“, and some my friends are asking if this is true. So out of curiosity I did some basic checking: OK Video is on YouTube, let’s see the text description from YouTube:

A bizarre highly unusual phenomenon shocked the southern Philippine residents as of this 8:00 am (UTC+08:00) there were confirmed reports that a 3 straight hours of heavy snowfall was reported to certain areas in the Southern region.

Wow 3 hours of heavy snowfall in the Philippines and yet Menard did not know anything about it (Menard FTW, he hid inside a cave somewhere along Ortigas avenue all-day again!!!)

And then I watched the video and with a replay I know it was TOO HOAX(ie) TO BE TRUE. Why? Read on..

OK some disclaimer first: I am not a video expert or a weather expert. I’m a normal IT-dude who is exposed to malware, social engineering and social media (read more about what I do full time here). So I will try to approach this Philippines First Recorded Snowfall issue from my areas of expertise and I will  try to make some sense out of it.

My observations:

  • Too many missing elements to be real news/newsworthy event. No exact location (Southern Philippines/Southern region only?) Is the news outfit reporting that lazy enough (or incompetent enough)  not to give the exact location? C’mon name the Province and City or Town, so that we can verify its authenticity.
  • Is news agency reporting legit? RB News and their logo, sorry haven’t heard of them :p
  • Exaggerated? Or is Media (Conventional and Social ones) in the Philippines that slow? 3 straight hours of heavy snowfall? 3 hours??? Social media (twitter, FB) isn’t that slow to pick up Bizarre events like this and I believe that the rivals biggie News/Media outlets (GMA,ABS-CBN,TV5,Inquirer,Rappler,etc) will catch the story and will make a big fuzz of it in all media.
  • Vague Details. Too many vague details in the video reporting
  • CC and Copyright Infringement. YouTube video text description got some copyright infringement warning then mixed it up with Creative-commons. Hehehe nice combo!

I originally tried to ignore this Facebook Hoax and  tried to get some sleep but seeing another barrage of Philippines First Recorded Snowfall: Is this true? via my FB timeline and 1 friend of a friend commenting that “this may be Malware, blah blah blah”

snow-pinas-panalo-comment

Screencap of my Friend’s Facebook Timeline showing her friend’s “may be malware” comment

I just smirked and said to myself: maybe I missed that malware from my breakfast menu (Thanks Ian for letting me use the screencap).

Given my observations above, I am giving a wild-guess that the people or group behind this video just wants to make it viral. Why? I’ve heard that viral videos in YouTube are good source of moolah, cash, kaching-kaching so #alamna. Wild guess lang naman ok?

Sorry I am still _NOT_ buying it. I will _NOT_ embed the video here at menardconnect.com. My reason: by embedding or re-posting the video I might just contribute to making it viral.

So this Philippines’ First Recorded Snowfall => Too Good to be True =>  HOAX for me OK 🙂

My advice to my FB Friends and readers: Do Not Share/ Do NOT Repost That Philippines’ First Recorded Snowfall video in FB. Let’s help remove some of the clutter in Facebook!!!

If you haven’t seen the video and want to contribute to make it “viral” you can cut and paste the link below

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJxmqIyQ2MQ

(FYI: my 1st viewing showed 200K+ views, now it got some 300K+ views already before posting this article)

Please feel free to repost/share this blog post/article to your timeline to help on the awareness campaign.

If you like this Snow in the Philippines hoax post, kindly view my other Facebook Hoax 2013 posts.

 

Facebook Hoax 2013: Graphic App Privacy Warning Hoax

In 2012 I featured several hoaxes circulating in Facebook here in my blog and launched my Facebook Hoax 2012 Awareness campaign. I think it was a good campaign so I am doing it again for this year 🙂

To start it off here is my story: Last night I saw another round of hoax-like fishy status updates from several of my friends and family members…

fb-hoax-graphic-app
I tried to ignore it but when I checked my FB Android app this afternoon, I saw this Facebook Graphic App Hoax status notifications are invading my FB news feeds, with lots of DONE, Done and done comments from their friends!!!

Facebook Hoax + “Privacy”-sensitive FB friends = FTW!

FB-mobile-app-screencap-hoax

I said enough is enough, this hoax needs some clarification in menardconnect.com before it gets out of hand because the hoax seems to be attempting to do some Facebookprivacy scare” but in reality it just provides misleading information.

Honestly, this one seems to be a recycled hoax from last year. I saw the same steps in the previous “I Want to Stay Privately Connected with You” scare messages in Facebook in 2012, but this time, it uses the Graphic App (whatever that app is) as a legit term bait. I will not comment on the privacy concerns about FB Graphs Search function, I will leave that to other security and tech blogs to discuss in detail.

To all my Facebook friends and blog readers that have posted/read this Facebook Graphic App Privacy Warning Hoax please take time to read this post and spread the word. To summarize:

  • There is no such thing such as the Graphic App described in the Graphic App Privacy Warning Hoax (see text sample below).
  • Do _NOT_ confuse that Graphic App with the Graphs Search function of FB. They are _NOT_ the same.
  • Actually if Facebook users follow the instructions in the second paragraph, it will _NOT_ change any privacy settings. It will just control which updates will be shown for that friend. Meaning you won’t see any “Life Events” and “Comments and Like” from that friend anymore.
  • settings-details
  • Please DO NOT Copy and Paste the hoax in your status. Nothing serious will happen, but honestly it’s a waste of your time and you are just spreading misleading information and you are just adding to the Facebook clutter problem.

Here is the status text sample (actual text may vary)

Hello to all of you who are on my list of contacts of Facebook. I would like to ask a favor of you…. You may not know that Facebook has changed its privacy configuration once again. Thanks to the new “Graphic app”, any person in Facebook anywhere in the world can see our photos, our “likes” and our “comments”.

So, please, place your cursor over my photo that appears in this box (without clicking) and a window will open. Now move the cursor to the word “Friends”, again without clicking. Then click on “Settings”. Uncheck “Life Events” and “Comments and Like”. This way my activity with my family and friends will no longer be made public.

Now, copy and paste this text on your own wall (do not “share” it!). Once I see it published on your page, I will un-check the same for you. During the next two weeks, I am going to keep this message posted and I ask you to do the following and comment “DONE”. Thanks so much!

Again, I would like to request that you DO NOT Copy and Paste the hoax warning in your status. You are just spreading misleading information and you are just adding to the Facebook clutter problem. Be part of the solution and not part of the problem OK?

You don’t want to believe me? then read it via Hoax Slayer:

http://www.hoax-slayer.com/graphic-app-facebook-hoax.shtml

Update:

or visit Graham Cluleys blog for more insights:

http://grahamcluley.com/2013/07/facebook-graphic-app-privacy-hoax/

I will try to find other  Facebook Hoaxes for 2013 and feature it here in menardconnect.com.

If you like this post, feel free to like, repost, share in Facebook, or tweet the link! Thank you!

Blizzard Launches The Characters of Warcraft

Blizzard highlighted major World of Warcraft characters in the website this week by launching The Characters of Warcraft. I got alerted on this via the WoW game launcher

characters-of-warcraft-launcher

 

And after some clicking around the website, I felt happy that they are featuring the great characters from the Warcraft lore. I’m an avid fan of the lore as I collect (and read) most of their World of Warcraft books. Blizz introduced the Warcraft heroes with the caption:

The heroes and villains of Warcraft stand larger than life, even in a world engulfed by constant conflict. Below, we’ve collected the personal histories and war stories of Azeroth’s paragons. Will you fight beside them, follow them…or topple them?

And then you will have Varian, Garrosh, Vol’jin, Lei Shin and others highlighted on the cover page. Clicking on the Warcraft heroes, the website will usually show 2 paragraph shorties, one describing the history of the character and the last paragraph their recent role, activities, highlights after the opening of the Mist in Pandaria. Screenshots, artworks and other links related the Warcraft lore characters are also featured in each page.

characters-of-warcraft-battle-net-cover

 

If you are not into the Warcraft lore that much, I guess this is a good introduction to the characters and heroes. But if you are a Warcraft lore geek, maybe it’s not that much new information. But overall we should be glad that Blizzard is promoting the Warcraft lore more now
You can view the The Characters of Warcraft by visiting:

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/lore/characters/

So who is your favorite Characters of Warcraft?

Possible New MMDA Number Coding Scheme

I’ve read about this new Possible MMDA Number Coding Scheme in the works, via twitter and interaksyon news website. It seems MMDA folks are contemplating on barring majority of the private vehicles in major roads of the Metro for two days a week (currently 1/week) to solve our traffic woes.

Quoting Interaksyon:

Tolentino spoke to reporters at the sidelines of the two-day 11th Asian Crisis Management Conference (ACMC) at Crowne Plaza, Manila Galleria which the MMDA is hosting.

The planned shift from the current two-digit Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) or the “number-coding” scheme into a four-digit system is just one of the solutions the agency is looking at to resolve traffic woes in the metropolis. The MMDA chief said there is urgency in easing traffic problems in Metro Manila, particularly at the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), where more than 325, 000 public and private vehicles, or 1,200 per lane per hour, pass everyday.

Tolentino explained that under the planned new proposal, vehicles get barred from roadways not just once, but twice.

In the scheme being considered, plate numbers ending with the following digits will be banned from major thoroughfares on assigned days, as below:

  • 1, 2, 3, 4 banned on Mondays
  • 5, 6, 7, 8 banned on Tuesdays
  • 9, 0, 1, 2 banned on Wednesdays
  • 3, 4, 5, 6 banned on Thursdays
  • 7, 8, 9, 0 banned on Fridays

Read the full news article at interaksyon website.

When compared to other PH Government agencies, MMDA is of  higher caliber (lumevel-up na sila in my opinion). They made good progressive moves by implementing innovative changes (especially on social media and mobile apps availability). I am just sad that with this new proposal on the number coding scheme, they are back to their good old “band-aid” mentality (tapal-tapal lang muna ang solusyon), as this proposal is definitely a short-sighted one.

I will not post how my officemates, irl-friends and online tweeps reacted to this proposal (but you can read some of their tweets here, here, here and here).

I hope good agencies like MMDA think about long term solutions. For me, a BIG NO to this New MMDA Number Coding Scheme.

The Voice Season 4 Hangover

One of the memorable performances I saw in The Voice USA Season 4 was the battle rounds between Judith Hill and Karina Iglesias. They performed It’s A Man’s World and their coach Adam Levine really had a hard time deciding who the winner was.

I recently found out that Judith Hill and Karina Iglesias performed that song again during the downtime of the show. But this time with a twist: Judith sang in Japanese, and Karina is Spanish 🙂

Watch their amazing performance in the video below courtesy of youtube: