News Flash – Not Everything You Read on Facebook Is True By Joyce McNabb, Manager AVCI.net Tech Team Each month I try to come up with a newsletter topic that is relevant to my audience, whoever you are. I know that the Tech Team newsletter is being read. I receive feedback from the community, both bad and good, and I truly appreciate it! But some months I really struggle to find a new, relevant topic to blabber on about. I thought I should take a break from the “I Hate Windows 8” series, sorry to disappoint. But then I was stuck trying to decide on a topic again… That was until I logged into Facebook and saw that a friend of mine had shared another Facebook rumor. It was second time in one week. This particular rumor happened to knock my favorite soda company so I was especially determined to make her realize that not everything you read on Facebook is true… Imagine that! Let me give you some (slightly embellished) examples of my pet peeve: Facebook is going to start charging you to post status updates. Share this post 4,392 times otherwise Facebook will cease to exist on May 15th, 2013. (Not a necessarily a bad idea but….) Use this magical app to see who’s been looking at your Facebook profile. Copy and paste this really long copyright notice about the pictures on your account being your property. Don’t save the other half of your onion in the ‘fridge. It will turn toxic and cause food poisoning once you’ve cut it open. Courtesy of Ed from Mullin’s Food Products. He would know, he’s some awesome engineer from some important sounding place. Flesh easting bananas are being shipped from Costa Rica. Seek medical attention immediately if you looked at a banana in the last two or three days. Every time you forward this email a penny will get donated to some really lovely, legitimate charity fund. What do all of these things have in common? They’re completely and utterly factually devoid. In other words, they’re junk, myth, legend, rumor, wahoozafizzle… And you fell for it. The Internet has given us a vast amount of knowledge right at our finger tips. The problem is, the Internet has also made us a bit lazy. We’ve found it easier to hit the share or forward button than to think for ourselves or to take a moment and do some research. I’ll admit, some of the shares/forwards I see and receive can be pretty convincing. But whenever I’m in doubt I check out a few trusted sources such as www.snopes.com, www.hoax-slayer.com, or urbanlegends.about.com. These are recognized websites devoted to setting the ever evolving Internet rumor-mill straight. The reason for my ranting is just to point out that you need to keep an open mind about things you read on the internet. Be wary of attention grabbing email forwards and social media posts. Research before you share and never trust a single source. Just because you read it on the internet doesn’t mean it’s the gospel. And I promise, the Prince of Africa did not send you a “top secret” email to wire twenty million dollars into your bank account. PS – There are some pretty amusing hoaxes that float around at times. For a chuckle check out “Spiders in the Hairdo” on Urban Legends or “The fall 2003 California wildfires left the US facing a severe toilet paper shortage.” on Snopes.