14 Year Old Boy Shot By Stepfather, Needs Money for Surgery-Scam!

Summary of eRumor:

A 14-year-old boy was shot six times by his stepfather after the boy stopped an assault on his little sister, and Messenger will donate 45 cents to help cover the boy’s medical bills each time a message about it is sent.

The Truth:

A plea to share a message about a 14-year-old boy who was shot by his stepfather is an example of a “sick child hoax.”

Sick child hoaxes are exactly what they sound like. There’s a heartbreaking story about a child being injured or facing a serious illness (in this case a 14-year-old boy shot by his stepfather), and then a plea to share or forward the story in order to raise money for the child. Most often, these hoaxes claim that reputable companies have pledged to donate a specific amount of money (45 cents in this case) for each “like” or “share” that it generates.

As a general rule, companies never donate money to causes based on the number of people who like or share it.

Posts and messages about the 14-year-old boy being shot by his stepfather surfaced in August 2017, but it’s not clear exactly where. There are a variations of the claim, but one of the most common ones goes like this:

a 14 year old got shot by his stepdad for saving his little baby sister from being raped by him this little hero is fighting for his life mother does not have enough money to pay for any operations but messenger has offered to pay 0.45 for each time you send this message to your friends and family

Similar versions of this particular hoax date all the way back to 2011. When it first emerged, the story went that a 14-year-old boy had been severely beaten by his stepfather, and Facebook had agreed to donate 45 cents for his care each time the post was shared:

sick child hoax
A 2011 sick child hoax about a 14-year-old boy who was beaten by his stepfather has inspired very similar posts.

In 2013, another version of the message surfaced that’s almost identical to the 2017 version. That one claims that a boy was shot six times by his stepfather and that “Facebook companies” will donate 45 cents each time the post is shared:

sick child hoax
A 2013 Facebook post about a 14-year-old boy who was shot by his father is almost identical to the 2017 rumor.

In August 2017, the post resurfaced with a slight twist. This time, Messenger (an app developed by Facebook) had agreed to donate 45 cents for the boys care for each share.

This rumor is persistent — but it’s not based in reality. Facebook (and virtually every other reputable company) will never donate money to pay for a sick or injured child’s medical treatment based on the number of times a post is “liked” or “shared.” Anytime you see that claim, it’s safe to assume that it’s a sick child hoax.

Facebook did, however, roll out a new feature in early 2017 that allows certain U.S.-based charities to fundraise for specific causes on the platform. But, again, Facebook’s charitable giving feature is not based on likes or shares — a “donate” button appears on the post to allow users to contribute directly to the cause.

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Collected on: 08/22/2017

a 14 year old got shot by his stepdad for saving his little baby sister from being raped by him this little hero is fighting for his life mother does not have enough money to pay for any operations but messenger has offered to pay 0.45 for each time you send this message to your friends and family