Category:  Social Media

Don't fall victim to Internet hoaxes!

An Internet hoax or myth is information portrayed to be true, but is actually false. Internet hoaxes can be dangerous in providing misinformation to people that may alter their thoughts or actions. This information can be defamatory and play on fears, biases and stereotypes. Hoax sites will likely prompt you to share the fake story on Facebook or Twitter, and many people do without checking the facts.

Hoaxes can include false information about a variety of subjects, ranging from presidential candidates, to impossible inventions, to pop-culture deaths. A popular example of a successful hoax, is the death of child star Macaulay Culkin. The false story was shared five million times on Facebook and prompted 23,000 tweets. The information was not picked up by any major news carriers and was quickly announced to be untrue.

Although sharing the false information about Culkin’s death was not harmful, it made a lot of people look very foolish. Some hoaxes have the potential to be dangerous. This includes suggesting positive outcomes that are actually dangerous, like “batteries will recharge in the oven.” (That is not true and dangerous, do not try it!) Additionally, hoaxes may ask for your information to damage your credit or steal your money.

Famous, harmless hoaxes are still a waste of time and can damage someone or something’s reputation. Help put a stop to Internet hoaxes by looking for signs of false information or checking your facts. When trying to spot an internet hoax, consider who, what, when, where and why it has been posted.

Ask yourself these questions:

Is it a source you have heard of it before?

Does it sound too good to be true?

How many sources are reporting the same information?

Is the date of the post current?

Are there spelling mistakes and grammatical errors?

Are their spam advertisements on the site?

Are you being asked for personal info?

Are you being asked to share the information for a reward?

If these questions didn’t verify its legitimacy, consider checking websites such as snopes.com and hoax-slayer.com. These websites check facts about trending stories and provide factual information. Also look at the URL for popular hoax sharing websites: Empire News, The National Report, Huzlers, Daily Currant and Free Wood Post. Some satirical websites that often get confused as legitimate are The Onion and Clickhole.

Top Hoaxes of 2015:

El Chapo is trying to start a war with ISIS

Obama gives $195 million to Syria in honor of a Muslim holiday

There is going to be 15 days of darkness

Charlie Brown Christmas now contains a Christian ideals warning

Stanley Kubrick said the moon landings were filmed in a studio

Rumbr is an app that allows you to meet people to fight

Top Hoaxes of all-time:

Student Mohamed Islam made up to $72 million in the stock trade

You can use an onion to charge your IPhone

You can unlock your car with a tennis ball

The world’s biggest dog is the size of a horse

There is an infinite energy generator that puts out twice the energy

IPhones can sense water and shut down to prevent damage

There are fairies that live in your garden

Remember to check your facts, and think before you share.


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