Facebook sent shock waves throughout the internet when it announced its first foray into the world of cryptocurrency. "Libra," Facebook's own spin on Bitcoin and similar digital cash, is set to debut with the backing of numerous major financial entities -- making it one of the first mainstream competitors in an already crowded field.
Even now, massive hype is building around Libra. A number of tutorials, websites, and experts on Libra have appeared overnight with lucrative invitations to cash in on the new phenomenon. They promise great returns on your small investment -- but there's just one little problem: Libra isn't even available yet!
Yes, all of these "early access" invitations and tutorial videos are scams, and with how popular Libra is looking to become, there's likely no end to them in sight! We'll give you a rundown on what you need to know about these irritating Libra scams, as well as the information that Facebook has let slip about the real thing up to this point.
Invitations to take part in a financial product...that doesn't even exist yet!
According to a new report from The Washington Post, a wide variety of Libra "How To" videos, invitational websites, and "early access" promotions have appeared across the internet on social media since Facebook first announced its cryptocurrency.
Most of the time, these schemes are advertising to early adopters -- promising them a sneak preview of the service before anyone else has access.
But, as luck would have it, these invitations are nothing but scams. Libra hasn't even made its official debut, so anyone pledging early access to the cryptocurrency is either extremely close friends with Mark Zuckerberg himself or an abject liar (my money's on the latter.)
On top of that, U.S. legislators are currently clamoring to create laws that would bar tech companies from operating as financial institutions -- meaning that if said law gets passed, Libra might not even happen in the first place! That's a double whammy for this scammy proposition!
What is Facebook doing about these fake Libra offers?
Ironically, Facebook is being used to promote many of these scams. Getting ripped off by one of them would easily destroy a person's faith in the currency Facebook is trying to develop, so it's in their best interest to remain watchful as scammers perpetuate their lies. Thankfully, many of these pages are being taken down by the platform -- but more continue to crop up at a rapid pace.
As for scam Libra websites beyond Facebook's reach, there isn't much that it can do outside of litigation. On Facebook itself, however, it's very much in the company's power to do something about the fake information that's spreading.
Between fake Libra scams and government regulation, public trust and mechanism of action for the young cryptocurrency might be dead on arrival. The ball is in Facebook's court. Let's see how it handles these growing pains going forward.
Regardless of how things go, Facebook has a lot to prove when it comes to building enough trust to act as a literal bank. Judging by its performance in the data security field, I don't have too much confidence. We'll see what happens.
Creepy teen apps, Facebook cryptocurrency, life-saving smartphones, and more: Tech Q&A
Each week, I receive tons of questions from my listeners about tech concerns, new products, and all things digital. Sometimes, choosing the most interesting questions to highlight is the best part of my job. This week, I received questions about creepy teen apps, a new Facebook cryptocurrency, smart TV viruses and more. Do you have a question you'd like to ask me?