(Well, the image above almost surely happened. It just isn’t depicting what is being claimed)
Facebookers are spreading a hoax via a Youtubers WordPress blog that originated on a Mexican fake-news website that claimed Samsung is paying Apple’s owed 1 billion dollar fine via nickels. The fake story goes:
This morning more than 30 trucks filled with 5-cent coins arrived at Apple’s headquarters in California. Initially, the security company that protects the facility said the trucks were in the wrong place, but minutes later, Tim Cook (Apple CEO) received a call from Samsung CEO explaining that they will pay $1 billion dollars for the fine recently ruled against the South Korean company in this way.samsung-pays-apple-1-billion-sending-30-trucks-full-of-5-cents-coins
The funny part is that the signed document does not specify a single payment method, so Samsung is entitled to send the creators of the iPhone their billion dollars in the way they deem best.
1) Samsung’s fine ($1.049bn) isn’t yet payable; the judge hasn’t ruled. All we have is the jury’s verdict. The judge’s decision, which could include a tripling of the fine, is due on 20 September (or possibly 6 December now; it’s unclear). Until then, Samsung only has to pay its lawyers. That should be less than $1bn.
2) If Samsung tried to pay the fine in five-cent coins, Apple could legitimately tell the trucks to turn around and head back to Samsung (if the trucks weren’t imaginary in the first place). Here’s the relevant phrase from the US Treasury web page:
Q: I thought that United States currency was legal tender for all debts. Some businesses or governmental agencies say that they will only accept checks, money orders or credit cards as payment, and others will only accept currency notes in denominations of $20 or smaller. Isn’t this illegal?
A: The pertinent portion of law that applies to your question is the Coinage Act of 1965, specifically Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled “Legal tender,” which states: “United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.”
This statute means that all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.
Snopes also pointed out the weight factors:
A single nickel weights 5 grams (about .011 pounds), so a billion dollars’ worth of nickels would weigh in at about 110,000 tons. That load would far exceed the carrying capacity of 30 or so trucks (requiring each truck to carry over 3,600 tons, or more than 7.2 million lbs. each). Even if the considerable weight of the trucks themselves weren’t taken into account, the equivalent of about 2,755 eighteen-wheeler trucks, each hauling 40 tons’ worth of nickels, would be needed to transport the weight of that many coins (and even that calculation still doesn’t take into account the volume of physical space needed to assemble, transport, and store 20 billion nickels).
The Facebook link catching fire is that of “The Blade Brown show” whose tagline is “God’s Don’t Mingle With Mortals.” Evidently they also don’t fact check their news items.
But perhaps the most bizarre feature of the post is that the clipart used in the blog appears to use pennies when the story clearly states that the coin used was nickel. From the Guardian:
5) There probably aren’t that many nickels in circulation anyway. The New York Times noted in 2006 that there were about 20bn nickels in circulation at the time; rising metal prices were encouraging people to melt them for the copper and zinc. Another dose of reason.
6) The amount of copper involved (95% of each nickel) is truly humungous because a billion is a very big number. 100,000 tonnes of copper (let’s assume that’s what it is for now) would, at a density of 8,940 kg/cubic metre (that’s 8.94 tonnes/cubic metre), occupy just over 11,185 cubic metres. As an Olympic swimming pool has a capacity of 2,500 cubic metres (aka “one olymp“), that would be the same as four and a half Olympic swimming pools filled entirely with copper. Imagine that if you can.