I Know How to Verify – Gratitude Project #17

Of all the things that I’d figured would eventually come up in my Gratitude Project posts, I’m surprised at this one.  However, after all of the nonsense that keeps showing up on Facebook, I’ve realized that knowing how to use Google is definitely Gratitude Project worthy.  Every few months, we all see this: someone posts something stupid and gets everyone in a tizzy.  My favorite ones (and by “favorite,” I mean the ones that most make me want to gouge out my own eyes) are the fake Amber Alerts and the Facebook Will Charge You frenzy.

I’m very grateful for knowing how to use Google and for a more than passing familiarity with Snopes.com.

I don’t post things that aren’t true.  For me, any time I see a call to pass things on, it sends up a red flag.  It’s very, very rare that any of these OMG Tell EVERYONE You Know or the World WILL END missives are legit.  Before I copy and paste something into my status, I’ll copy and paste it into Google first and see what comes up.

In the last month, I’ve debunked fake viruses, fake Amber Alerts, and fake plans for Facebook to charge.  I’ve had people ask what’s the big deal; they don’t understand why I get so irritated with people passing on fake information.

Let’s see: for fake viruses, I had my first run in during the 90’s.  I was new to the internet and believed that everyone had good intentions.  Then there was a fake virus alert that a well meaning contact passed on.  I got ready to delete something… and then I saw another email saying that it was something that was actually kind of important to the functionality of my computer.  It had a link to Snopes.com, which debunked the virus alert.  I never, ever again just mindlessly passed things on.  Sure, my friends are not out to cause trouble, but some douchecanoe who starts this crap in the first place certainly is.

Fake Amber Alerts: If my kid was missing, I know that I’d want everyone in the world to do their part to find my baby.  And yeah, that includes Facebook statuses passing on whatever information is available.  However, all these phony alerts do is take away from any real sense of urgency that is needed for real events.

Fake Facebook alerts: The status updates from my friends are just an annoying waste of bandwidth.  (Which reminds me, I’m also very grateful that bandwidth is so cheap these days.)  However, there are also fake groups that pop up to “protest” Facebook’s plans to charge with the explicit purpose of stealing your information, and not for nice reasons.  Mainly, though, it just annoys the ever loving crap out of me because it’s always the same sheeple who fall for it every couple of months.  What, the Snopes links that they were passed the last 16516165045 times didn’t sink in?  The fact that it’s written on Facebook’s log in page that Facebook is free and will always be free isn’t good enough?

A friend of mine told me that she’s started unfriending people that are just that stupid.  Really, she has a point.  What good would charging for Facebook do when there’s always that free Google+ just waiting to take over?  Why alienate the users when they’re making gobs off of our personal information through targeted ads?

Really, people, use the internet responsibly.  Trust, but verify.  Especially if something contains instructions to tell every single person that you know.  So, yup, I’m definitely grateful for my ability to check things before mindlessly copying and pasting them.  And I’m grateful for my friends who do the same.

What are you grateful for today?


About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

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