I used to have a huge problem that drove me nuts. Friends sending out emails to all of their friends with information that just was not true. I would then go to Snopes, verify it was not true and send that friend a link. I don’t get those emails much these days. I don’t know if it’s that they aren’t sending them, they just removed me from their lists (and if so, thank you) or, and I think this is more likely, all of this sharing has just moved to social media.
It happened again just yesterday. A Facebook friend from high school shared a status regarding a video that was supposedly the scariest video ever. The video was of a supposed Congressman reading H.R. 8791 (link to Snopes) so that the bill could go up for a vote. It’s a short video, and if it were true, would be one of the scariest videos ever.
In reality, it is a satire video created by The Onion. And it is well done, so I give them credit for producing a great video. The problem occurs when people start passing around the video as fact. (And if you do a Google search for the video, there are plenty of site posting it as fact.) But there is an easy solution, Snopes.
The people who run Snopes spend a lot of time verifying the truthfulness of Urban Legends. This makes it quick and easy resource for determining if something you are seeing/reading is real. And they usually post a lot of information to back up their determination of True or False. Do they ever make mistakes? Yes, but is rare (and I don’t actually have an example of a mistake). But it is the best resource I know of for determining if the Urban Legend is true or false before sending it on.
No one benefits when we continue to pass along false information is true. And usually it only takes a few minutes to verify the truthfulness of what you’ve received. So next time you are ready to pass along that great photo, video or email you just received, please head over to Snopes to verify it’s true before sharing it. We’ll all be better off.