Fake Facebook Powerball Winner Photo: Most Shared Image On Facebook?

By Khurram Aziz | Dec 04, 2012 11:00 AM EST

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A photo of a man called Nolan Daniels shown with a fake winning lottery ticket could be the most shared image in Facebook's history, with over 2 million people linking to the picture.

The doctored photo posted on the social network mega-site showed the grinning Daniels with the correct Powerball numbers for the massive $588 million jackpot.

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In an effort to secure as many Facebook shares as possible, Daniels said in the caption: "Looks like I won't be going to work EVER!!!! Share this photo and I will give a random person 1 million dollars!"

A vast swathe of Facebook users complied, racking up the seemingly impossible number of shares within the space of three days.

When the two actual winners of the Powerball draw were eventually found, neither of them turned out to be Daniels, though one, like the hoaxster, is from the Phoenix area.

The photo also amassed 27,000 comments, with some still oblivious to the hoax days after the image was first shared.

"Would be nice to have a mill have never won anything before maybe a free ticket lol," said Amanda Belanger on Tuesday.

"Spend it wisely my friend and congrats," said Rosemary Palermo minutes later.

The story first took off when the Savannah Morning News published an article a day after Daniels uploaded the image, concerning the offer for $1 million to a random Facebook user. 

In a follow-up story, the news site quotes Daniels' brother, Dereck Daniels, explaining the hoax.

"I am Nolan's biological brother. ... I get the post, it is funny to some people. However, from what I hear about his message box being full of people's stories of hardship and desire for help is kind of sad." said Dereck.

"Even though most knew it was fake people hang onto the most slim opportunities for some luck, some hope. ... 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 it this wasn't the case."

There is no verification that that quote is in fact from Dereck Daniels.

In Facebook's eight-year history, there are few images with anywhere near the same number of shares.

A picture of President Barack Obama embracing his wife, Michelle, posted after his re-election victory in November topped 581,000 shares, and last year, the most shared item on the social network was a New York Times photo gallery of the Japanese earthquake shared about 600,000 times.

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