Face it. Nearly every one of us has been taken in by a too-good-to-be-true claim, warning or photo posted to an online platform. We’re all intelligent people who should, by now, know better.
Here’s my simple plan to squash the circulation of future Statue of Liberty tsunami pics or “Share my photo for a piece of my lottery winnings” scams.
Let’s unofficially call it the Facebook Fauxto Phone a Friend in honor of the platform currently used most prolifically by those with varying degrees of graphic manipulation skills. Here’s how it works. The minute your eyes take in an item in your feed that causes the pleasure center in your brain to scream, “OMGBBQ, this is too awesomsauce to not share with my every BFF!” follow these three easy steps.
- Immediately go to www.snopes.com, type in some keywords from the original post, and find the topic in the search results. Odds are greater than great that you’ll see a red dot beside the word False. Put your cursor in the navigation bar and copy the URL – I don’t really have to explain how to do that, right?
- If the offending item was on Facebook, for example, find your friend with the most followers and post this link directly on that person’s wall with a comment asking them to please help spread the word that this claim is false (or this photo is fake).* Do not share the original post.
- If your mom is active on the same platform, post this same message on her wall, then email it to her, then text the link to her, then tweet her, then call her and ask her to check her Facebook, Gmail, Twitter and smart phone.
* If you’re like me and have groups of friends in two or more cities, repeat step 2 with a power user from each city.
This process should limit the frap – as we say in this house – from dominating your newsfeed or lists for 24-48 hours.
I now return you to the Huskers game in progress.