Rumours of Facebook shutting down this March has sent netizens into a tizzy. With several blogs reporting that the Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced the closure of the social networking site, thousands are scurrying for answers on the internet. Google Trends, Twitter and Yahoo Answers has been set on fire with the questions 'Is Facebook shutting down?'.

The 'Report'

In a press conference outside his Palo Alto office, a blog reported, Zuckerberg said, Facebook has gotten out of control and the stress of managing this company has ruined my life. I need to put an end to all the madness.

I personally don't think it's a big deal, he reportedly said in a private phone interview. And to be honest, I think it's for the better. Without Facebook, people will have to go outside and make real friends. That's always a good thing.

Avrat Humarthi, Vice President of Technical Affairs at Facebook is also quoted as saying on the blogspot post, After March 15th the whole website shuts down. So if you ever want to see your pictures again, I recommend you take them off the internet. You won't be able to get them back once Facebook goes out of business.

Why it is a hoax...

While these reports are being carried by several blogs, none of the main-stream media outlets have carried anything about it, indicating that the report is just a hoax.

It all seems to have begun on Weekly World News, which has in the past has generated sensational rumours such as Michelle Obama getting pregnant and Megan Fox is a man hoax. Even though some of the stories on the website are true, of late it has earned a reputation of spreading such hoaxes.

Besides, Facebook is currently riding on a high wave of success. The company was recently infused with a whooping $500 million from Goldman Sachs and a Russian investor in a deal that values the company at $50 billion. The social-networking site also faces a possible entry into the market next year. Currently, it has slightly more than 500 million users.

Also, the quotes of Zuckerburg throwing in the towel seem unlikely especially after the recognition he has been receiving over the past few months. He overtook WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange to be named the Time Person of the Year 2010.

Rumour sets internet on fire

Nevertheless, the question of Facebook shutting down is burning up the search engines. While the search term 'is facebook shutting down' trending on Google, Yahoo Answers has scores of threads on the topic. Thousands took to Twitter worried about what would happen to them after Facebook shuts down despite assurances from many informed netizens telling their fellow Twitter users not to fall for the hoax.

Jac_Daniels‎ tweeted, Facebook is worth 50 billion and will go public next year.. Now why they are shutting down!!!

Another user, 3lilangels‎ slammed the rumour as ridiculous with the post, Is Facebook really shutting down on March 15? Another Ridiculous Rumor Spreading like Crazy

ChynaLynn tweeted, Believing that 'Facebook is shutting down' news is like believing those 'You will die in 7 days' text messages.

A fraction of those who chose to believe that Facebook is really shutting down saw the development to have a positive effect on Twitter.

Martinjestrada tweeted: So I heard all this talk about facebook shutting down, it's all good, it just means twitters taking over.

AnissaaAaliyahh wrote,‎Facebook is apparently shutting down March 15th, so i guess no one can get distracted from homework anymore, unless they sign up for twitter