Saturday, June 23, 2012

No more hoaxes online, please!

ATTENTION!!!!!!!!! do not join the group currently on facebook with the title "becoming a father or a mother was the greatest gift of my life." it is a group of paedophiles trying to access your photos, this was on fox news at 5 last night. please copy and post!!! lets keep children safe (take a minute to copy and paste)
Do your facebook friends spread hoaxes? Knowingly or unknowingly people spread hoaxes online. Why do they spread hoaxes? Except for the one who initially created or engineered the hoax, the folks who spread it often have good motives, or at least supporting what they believe to be morally and ethically correct. The chain letters is one common form, which has now mostly been transformed into the Facebook status updates, messages, and wallposts.

I used to reply by just posting the relevant Snopes or Hoax-Slayer link whenever I see an annoying hoax online. But whenever I did that, I found that the friend who shared the link feels offended and starts to protect the hoax. In many cases, the folks who post those stuff may even be more educated or experienced than you. Some times they may even be your superiors in your office. They are knowledgeable; but they just don't have the time, need, or courage to confirm the validity of the message before posting it - their motivation is better to be careful, in case if the hoax is true.

Eventually, I have found an effective way of replying.
Thanks for your message. But seems that message is just a hoax, according to snopes. But pls keep us updated.

I am nowadays using the above message format (with the link replaced with the relevant link confirming that the status or the message is just a hoax). To my surprise, this has been proven to be extremely effective. 

Here the posters are actually kind hearted (refer to the first paragraph, which contains the hoax, warning about pedophiles). Hence I thank them for the care. Then I suggest them the link might be a hoax. Finally, I finish the message with "Pls keep us updated!" This avoids the feeling of being taught or advised something, which everyone hates of. I have seen many of the posters, indeed copy my above reply to the source where they initially found the hoax. This way the message spreads against the hoax, at the same speed of hoax. Finally the responses and facts are propagated both upstream and downstream. Everyone is safe!

Let's have a nice stay online! No worries! 

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