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'Abolish women's right to vote': 80,000 Facebook users duped

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'Abolish women's right to vote': 80,000 Facebook users duped
12:55 CET+01:00
Swedes received a lesson in the internet's power for deception when a Facebook group claiming to support heart research suddenly changed into one aimed at scrapping women's right to vote.

The Facebook group originally promised it would send three kronor ($0.42) to organizations involved in heart research for every member that joined.

Membership in the group grew exponentially, quickly climbing into the tens of thousands.

But when the group reached 80,000 members, it changed its stated purpose from supporting research to working toward depriving women of their right to vote.

The group's Facebook page suddenly claimed that its members “don't think that women should be allowed to have the right to vote”, followed by a number of arguments against women's suffrage.

The group's 20-year-old founder said he pulled the bait-and-switch to encourage people to stop believing everything they read.

“The point was to be provocative. We want to show that people shouldn't always be so trusting of the things they join. We did it in a rather provocative way,” the group's founder told the TT news agency.

Reaction to the stunt has been mixed.

While some Facebook users sad they felt “tricked into this” in comments posted on the group's site, others found the maneuver amusing.

“There's also humour in it. I wanted people to realize they shouldn't believe everything they read, and they should check how truthful something is before signing up or joining a group,” the 20-year-old explained.

He added that the ruse has far surpassed his expectations.

“We got many more members than we had expected and many reacted in the way we wanted,” the group's founder said.

He emphasized, however that he does not, in fact, believe that women should be denied the right to vote.

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