Holy schnikes. I ran into another case of a person being duped by misinformation on Facebook this weekend. I’ve lost my patience with the spread of misinformation and from now on the nicest thing I can call it is being internet stupid.
This is the conversation I had that brought this issue to light for the 8 billionth time:
An educated adult who has been in the workforce for many years was telling me about the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood show and various facts about Mr. Rogers himself. Facts about Mr. Rogers are well known and are easy to verify so I was really surprised that this person was so drastically misinformed about Mr. Rogers. When I inquired as to where they had uncovered such nonsense, the reply was something I had already suspected: Facebook. The person was stunned that what they had read about Mr. Rogers on a Facebook post was so far from the truth. The person kept repeating things like “the post seemed so believable”, “I can’t believe I was fooled”, blah blah blah blah. I will not link to the actual Facebook post here because I do not want to contribute to the spread of misinformation but the post went into detail about a military career that is purely fiction.
I avoided launching into a tirade about misinformation because we all must deal with it so I kept it light and just reminded the person that a social network is just a social network, expect no more than what you would obtain from conversations in a public place with strangers and if you are going to pass along information you have learned from these encounters then you need to fact check first.
Everyone complains about our news organizations (ABC, NBC, FOX, CNN, newspapers, etc) but these news organizations have shown for many, many, many, many years an attempt to deliver news to us with an attempt to fact check and they are held accountable for their mistakes – not always immediately – but they are in many cases. Random morons floating around Facebook (and other areas of the Internet) that are posting information that has in no way been checked for accuracy are rarely held accountable for the misinformation they spread. If their account is blocked, they just open another one. It is up to you to do proper research before spreading information to the entire world with one click of a button.