To say that news travels fast these days would be an understatement, and the best example for lottery fans and players comes from Facebook. Not so long ago, a guy named Daniels bragged about winning the largest Powerball jackpot in history by posting what appeared to be a lottery ticket. Given the fact that everyone was looking forward for the lottery winners to step up and claim their prizes, Mr. Daniels’ prank gained a lot of traction.
Probably the most shared image ever
The alleged winner had a very simple strategy and encouraged Facebook users to share the image for a chance of winning $1 million. He said that since he got so lucky to win over $600 million, he wouldn’t mind giving away a fraction of the jackpot to one of those who shared the picture. Against their better judgment, many Facebook users did exactly what Daniels instructed them to do and in a matter of hours the picture went viral over the Internet.
It is yet to be determined what led Mr. Daniels to set up this prank, but what is certain is that the community responded exactly the way he hoped it would. What makes it even more interesting is the fact that even after the two real winners stepped into the spotlight, some people were still confident that he was the lucky winner. Some of them were driven by a faint hope that their effort of sharing the picture might be rewarded generously if Daniels was indeed the one who scooped the huge Powerball jackpot.
A mediocre fake at best
What is equally surprising is that the joke was so successful despite the fact that the image was poorly doctored and any Powerball player could spot the fake. The ticket advertised as a winner was in fact featuring numbers that were out of sync and a keen observer would’ve identified the flaws. Probably the best explanation for why so many Facebook users fell into the trap is that they were genuinely hoping to benefit from the windfall. It is well-known that people tend to hang on to the slightest faith, and a giveaway worth $1 million is not something to dismiss.
Not all the community has been just as convinced by Mr. Daniels and some were not even mildly amused by his idea of a joke. The number of angry comments eventually outweighed positive ones and some of those who stumbled upon the image made some harsh remarks. At the end of the day, what really matters is the fact that even when someone comes up with a poorly designed fake, there are always some people willing to believe the story. This should serve as a cautionary tale for other lottery players who might become the target of scam artists who have a more devious agenda.