Do a Little Research Before Sharing on FaceBook

Image: Public Domain, Morguefile
Image: Public Domain, Morguefile

When I see something really cool on FaceBook, I may get the urge to share it with my own contacts. However, I usually check into it before I start spreading it around.

There are so many things that get spread around FaceBook that simply aren’t true. For instance, the status that FaceBook was closing in June 2013 was getting spread around and was totally untrue. What about that neat thing on how you can tell the gender and sweetness of a bell pepper by the number of lobes on the bottom? False. A baggie of water will repel flies! Not so much. Sometimes it’s worse, and false missing child or animal abuse stories get shared.

If what you’re looking at is more than a cute photo or something from a reputable source, do a little research before you hit that share button. Copy some of the text and put it into a Google search in quotes, see what comes up. Look it up on a hoax exposing web site. Find out if what you’re sharing is fact or fiction.

Oh, and don’t assume that because you saw it on a friend’s profile it must be true. Your friend might not have been smart enough to research it either. People hit the share button on things they think are “cool” or “important” without even thinking about it. Society has taught people not to think for themselves, so most people don’t bother doing their own research before spreading what could be misinformation.

And please, if someone makes a comment on one of your shares and tells you it isn’t true, don’t get angry with them. Thank them. They’re trying to do a good thing and keep you from looking foolish and spreading falsehoods. They’re doing it to help, so it’s rude to jump on their case for doing the right thing.

It really only takes a couple of minutes to look something up before you hit the share button. You’ll be doing good for yourself and for others by exposing misinformation and by not spreading it. After a while, it gets easier to spot the stuff that looks like it might be false. Of course, if it’s real, you may learn some other new facts from having looked it up.

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