One man’s (or woman’s) devastating hurricane is another man’s cash cow. Take a wild guess which one is being called a “soulless, heartless wanker.”
That would be the Facebook user who created a fake page advertising a free Carnival cruise for hurricane victims.
The post, which was shared more than 75,000 times as of Friday, urged victims of Hurricane Harvey or Irma to contact British Carnival cruise director John Heald asking for a free cruise with the hashtag #Carnivalfamily. The person would then be awarded with a four- to seven-night voyage of their choosing, “just pay taxes and port fees.” To boot, victims were told they’d receive $100 in on-board cruise credit.
Heald, who is also a blogger for the Miami-based cruise line, took to Facebook to debunk the post. Heald said the Facebook user created the Facebook page in Heald’s name — and later another page in his late father’s name. In his posts, Heald called the fake Facebooker a “soulless, heartless wanker.”
“It is a fake page and we have reported the author accordingly. I know which Facebook group this originates from and I will be severing all ties with them as well,” Heald wrote on Facebook. “I have had enough now and I am sure you have as well.”
In a later post on Friday, Heald specified that he knew the man who had made the fake post.
He has the brain capacity of something that lies on its back at the bottom of a pond... To do that to hurt other people like that, you really are a bottom feeder.
John Heald, senior cruise director at Carnival Cruise Line
“I know who he is,” Heald said in a video. “He has the brain capacity of something that lies on its back at the bottom of a pond... To do that, to hurt other people like that, you really are a bottom feeder.”
Jennifer De La Cruz, a spokeswoman for the cruise line, confirmed that the line had reported the post on Facebook.
“It is unfortunate that there are those who do this sort of thing in the wake of such devastation and heartbreak brought on by the recent hurricanes,” she said in a statement.
The Facebook post originated from a site called breakingnews247.net, a prank site that allows users to create fake posts to go viral on social media. Posts that get a lot of “shares” or “likes” can be sold to marketers or scammers who then target users and can trick them out of getting information.
It is unfortunate that there are those who do this sort of thing in the wake of such devastation and heartbreak brought on by the recent hurricanes.
Jennifer De La Cruz, Carnival spokeswoman
The practice, called like-farming, can seem innocent at first, roping users to like posts they don’t recognize as false. Experts discourage users from automatically liking anything without first checking the validity of it. A simple Google search on the information should do it.
Just another lesson that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.