Are you one of these people? By that I mean people posting internet rumors as fact which really pisses me off. Last week, a couple of days after the Miss Universe beauty pageant, someone put it out there that Oprah Winfrey tweeted that Miss Philippines would have won if she was given enough time to answer the question presented to her. The contention being, the other finalists had extra time because they needed translator. For one thing, what Oprah was supposed to have tweeted to NBC was more than 160 characters and it would have taken several tweets, and something that would have come out on her Twitter page or NBC News’ page. Did someone even bother to check that? It turns out that Oprah never said anything of the sort. I mean, even the English being used in those supposed tweets didn’t appear to be what Oprah would have used. Hers would have been more polished even in internet shorthand.
Another very recent issue, a rumor that went viral on September 24th saying that Facebook is going to start charging users. How many times has that rumor been passed around through the years? Well, this one started as an internet chain letter which people kept on posting and claiming as true because “it was in the news”. It was in the news alright, but not for the reason the chain letter stated. The real news said the rumor wasn’t true.
The problem is that people start copying and pasting without checking the facts first and with social media, it has gotten so easy to pass rumors along. I guess that is an age old problem. I can still remember longhand or typed chain letters sent by snail mail. Most of them said if you don’t pray so much Our Fathers and Hail Marys, plus if you don’t send a copy of the letter to 10 other people, some kind of misfortune will strike you. Nowadays, these electronic chain letters might include a clickable link which can hijack your account and maybe send all sorts of emails to people on your contact list. Look up what clickjacking means here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clickjacking.
If ever you encounter these things in your email inbox, twitter feed, or Facebook wall, please do yourself a favor and check these websites first: http://urbanlegends.about.com/ or http://snopes.com/. At least do a Google or Bing search and read what you find intently to make sure the source is legitimate news. Otherwise, if you believe in everything you read on the internet, then you are just perpetuating the problem and making it worst. Are you part of the problem, or are you part of the solution?
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