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Misinformation Overload: Choose What You Share

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Misinformation is a common practice on the world wide web. What is not true becomes factual. What is hearsay becomes the truth.

It is very easy to retweet and share information on social media that have not been verified. If someone who has great influence on many people posted it, people will believe it right away. If a post has hundreds and thousands of comments, people will assume that it is factual, indeed.

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One good example is the internet death hoaxes that seem to victimize different celebrities every year. Many poor celebrities have been “killed” on the internet. Long before Nelson Mandela peacefully rested in peace last 2013, he was rumored to be dead in early 2011. News of his “death” spread like wildfire on Twitter. ?Hashtags like “#RIPNelsonMandela” and “RIPMandela” were tweeted and exchanged for a few days.?The Nelson Mandela Foundation even had to confirm that it was false before the rumors ceased. They had a hard time killing the fire of the rumor because people kept tweeting and posting about it.

In 2014, news got out that Justin Bieber was caught having marijuana.?4Chan users posted fake Twitter pictures?in which they appeared to have been cutting themselves. These mere tweets, apparently got Justin Bieber fans to react violently. They followed suit and actually started cutting themselves, and post pictures of their wounds. They even used the #cutforbieber hashtag,?much to the dismay of the elderly. A sample tweet goes like this:??”?#cutforbieber?you stop using drugs and we’ll stop cutting”

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This is the bad thing about misinformation on the internet – it’s faster than word of mouth. Once you post it, it is very hard to get it back. We cannot control the effects it may give. We cannot have complete control over what happens next. So before posting or retweeting something, do these tips:

  • Always verify. It never hurts to ask. One question may save the truth.
  • Google for facts. See all reviews, comments and feedback about an issue before commenting or sharing.
  • Never be afraid to stand up for the truth. If you see something that is wrong or being considered as a truth, correct it. You may be the only brave one to do it.

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