Fake lottery winner may be Facebook's most shared image
By Doug Gross, CNN updated 2:14 PM EST, Mon Dec 3, 2012
Bogus lottery photo shared 2 million times on Facebook
Man claimed he had won $588 million Powerball and would share
Prankster's brother to newspaper: "I think he craves love"
Last year's most shared item on Facebook got 600,000 shares
(CNN) -- No, some guy named Daniels on Facebook didn't win the Powerball lottery. And, no, he's not really giving anyone $1 million of his winnings.
But that didn't stop a doctored photo claiming just that from becoming possibly the most-shared image in the site's history.
In the photo, posted on the social-media ubersite Thursday night, a grinning man identified as Nolan Daniels holds up a Powerball ticket with the correct numbers for the massive $588 million jackpot awarded Wednesday.
The caption that went along with it was the stuff of get-rich-quick daydreams: "Looks like I won't be going to work EVER!!!! Share this photo and I will give a random person 1 million dollars!"
And share they did. By Monday morning, more than 2 million people had clicked in hopes of a windfall. The problem, of course, being that the numbers on the ticket were out of sequence -- a tip-off that the image had been doctored.
And it didn't help when the two holders of actual winning tickets were found. Neither ticket belonged to Daniels, although one winner, like Daniels, is from the Phoenix area.
The photo, which is the only publicly shared item on Daniels' page, had gotten more than 27,000 comments by Monday morning. More than three days after the original post, some commenters were still oblivious to the hoax.
"You have given a lot of people hope at a wonderful time of year, what a kind and generous thing to do!" one user wrote. "Merry Christmas to you and your family!"
But most had taken a harsher turn, ranging from "Ha! Ha! You got us" to angrier fare.
"What a JERK ... this is FAKE!!!!" someone wrote. "All I can say is KARMA!!!!"
The story first gained traction on social media, then took off when the Savannah (Georgia) Morning News published an article Friday on the activity surrounding Daniels' Facebook page. A man claiming to be Daniels' brother then left a comment on the Morning News' site, discrediting the accuracy of the photo.
"Even though most knew it was fake, people hang onto the most slim opportunities for some luck, some hope ...," wrote Derek Daniels in the post. "I hope people were able to shake it off. I'm sure the vast majority did. The idea of someone winning and then sharing in a second lottery is touching. Too bad ... this wasn't the case."
The Morning News contacted Derek Daniels, who told the newspaper his brother Nolan is a 35-year-old software engineer. He thinks his brother was just seeking attention, according to the paper.
"I think he craves the love from people," he said Saturday in a follow-up article published by the newspaper. "He did this to make himself feel better."
Nolan Daniels did not immediately respond to a message on Facebook on Monday seeking comment for this report.
Among the comments on his Facebook photo were at least dozens that recounted stories of personal hardship, from people with disabilities to tales of children diagnosed with terminal diseases. That, Derek Daniels said in his post, may be where a prank went too far.
With 2 million-plus shares, the image may be the most-shared item in the eight-year history of Facebook. A photo of President Barack Obama hugging his wife, Michelle, posted after his re-election victory last month, received 581,000 shares. And Facebook's most-shared item last year was a New York Times photo gallery of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. It was shared about 600,000 times.
A Facebook representative did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.
Thursday, May 23 2013 12:30 PM EDT2013-05-23 16:30:43 GMT
Authorities say five people have been arrested in the robbery of $4 million in jewelry from a Connecticut store in an elaborate heist that began with the kidnapping of store employees more than 40 milesMore >
Authorities say five people have been arrested in the robbery of $4 million in jewelry from a Connecticut store in an elaborate heist that began with the kidnapping of store employees more than 40 miles away.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:43 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:43:24 GMT
Fallen officer's daughter graduates from kindergarten
Hundreds of Phoenix police officers showed their support for a fallen colleague by attending his daughter's kindergarten graduation in Anthem on Wednesday. Officer Daryl Raetz was killed in the lineMore >
Tatum Raetz, 5, graduated from kindergarten in Anthem Wednesday and hundreds of uniformed Phoenix police officers were there to show their support for the family.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 4:24 PM EDT2013-05-23 20:24:28 GMT
Three people were arrested after police said they stole $30,000 worth of cell phones from a Walmart in Naugatuck early Thursday morning. According to police, the suspects broke into a one of the store'sMore >
Three people were arrested after police said they stole $30,000 worth of cell phones from a Walmart in Naugatuck early Thursday morning.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:05 AM EDT2013-05-23 13:05:24 GMT
For two years, the Channel 3 Eyewitness News I-Team has been following a New Britain woman who has filed dozens of lawsuits. She's sued everyone from Connecticut Light & Power and World Wrestling Entertainment,More >
For two years, the Channel 3 Eyewitness News I-Team has been following a New Britain woman who has filed dozens of lawsuits. More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 6:22 PM EDT2013-05-23 22:22:32 GMT
Firefighters still remain on the scene after a large fire ripped through a multi-family home in the Taftville section of Norwich. The fire broke out in the home on Norwich Avenue around midnight Thursday.More >
More than a dozen people are being helped by the American Red Cross after a large fire ripped through an apartment building in the Taftville section of Norwich.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:55 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:55:08 GMT
(RNN) - Dozens of Cleveland restaurants have pledged to give the man who rescued three Ohio women from captivity, free burgers for life. Charles Ramsey, the guy who famously stopped eating his Big MacMore >
More than a dozen of Cleveland restaurants have pledged to give the man who rescued three Ohio women from captivity, free burgers for life.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 7:43 PM EDT2013-05-23 23:43:36 GMT
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Litchfield County until 7:15 p.m.The National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated flash flooding from a thunderstorm entering the area,More >
Flooding has been reported in several parts of Connecticut Thursday evening.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:53 AM EDT2013-05-23 13:53:17 GMT
The Newtown Board of Education has unanimously hired a principal from neighboring Bethel to lead the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The News-Times of Danbury reports that Kathleen Gombos, the principalMore >
The Newtown Board of Education has unanimously hired a principal from neighboring Bethel to lead the Sandy Hook Elementary School.More >