How to Spot Fake Posts on Facebook

What Facebook lacks in privacy, it more than makes up for it with content. Aside from your friends’ posts about how they are having a great time with two friends at a restaurant and pictures of their babies, the other type of posts you’ll see most commonly are news about events and discoveries that are impressive-sounding.

Thanks to those posts you get to know such amazing things such as how Vietnamese fish is poisoning our children, how Obama is using a secret sign language to send messages to Islamic gay Mexicans that will eventually take over the country, or why the latest Japanese anime is going to turn you into a vegetable-eating zombie.

Bat Boy story

Don’t let your heart or wallet be stolen by the fake batboy.

People who read my articles are intelligent and educated (and chances are, beautiful and charming as well), so you probably guessed that some of these might not actually be true. But how to teach the uninitiated to separate fact from fandom? Thanks to my utter lack of anything else better to do, I have devised a system that will allow you to tell if a certain post is full of it. Just do the following checks:

1.- It’s Magical or Miraculous.

This is a clear give-away. If it can’t happen because it violates the rules of physics, then it’s obviously fake.

Not that there’s a difference between there’s a small chance that might happen and there’s absolutely no way that it could have happened. Some events have a very low probability of happening, yet, they will happen once in a million times. For example, the air attendant who survived an in-air explosion, the subsequent fall and the three days it took rescue teams to find her, was in a comma for 27 days, was paralyzed from the waist down, but then was able to walk again, and then flew again and enjoyed plane crash fils. That did happen although do not count on the even repeating itself in the near future.

On the other hand, no matter how much you pray to whomever you pray to, you can’t start a car if there’s no motor on it. And if you can, well, then could you come and tell me why mine stops all of a sudden when I drive too slowly? Maybe you can also fix traffic when I am late to work.

2.- It Would Have Made it into the News.

Most type of real and important news make it to, you know, the news. If Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan get together for an after-jail party and drop dead of intoxication, Facebook won’t get an exclusive contract with their families about the news. No, every major important outlet would be talking about them.

Here’s a quick tip, if you see a news of this type, then open yahoo news or see CNN. If it’s not right there in your face without any searching, it’s fake.

Hillary Clinton alien baby

Somehow Fox News has failed to pick this one up.

 

3.- There is no Tracking or Identifying Information.

When in doubt, here’s what you should look for: names of people, names of places, names of agencies/companies/associations, and dates.

These pieces of information have one thing in common: they can be entered in search engines. People who spread false information, don’t want other people to detect it’s false and thus they omit them. No matter how heartbreaking the story of a little child with cancer who needs your “like” in order for his father to get him treatment is, if there’s no identifiable information, it’s fake.

Lincoln fake quote

Still researching this one.

4.- No Sources

Sometimes, there is names and dates, but no sources. That’s a good sign that the information is made-up. Unless you were a personal witness to the event, chances are that when you find something to share with others on Facebook, it’s because you found it online, in which case all it takes is to copy and past the link. If there’s no link, then chances are you’re looking at yet another tear-jerking or shit-scaring, fake story.

zika pregnancy

The source seems legit.

5.- It Didn’t Happen to the Person Who Posted It.

If a random stranger came to you and asked you to give him a 5 dollars because his child needs food, would you believe him and give him the 5 dollars? Chances are you wouldn’t coz you’re a bastard just like I am. However, if your best friend came to you and asked you the same thing, you’d believe him. You still probably wouldn’t give him the money anyway because it was him who decided to have a child.

It should be the same on Facebook, yet people believe things not because it happened to their friends and relatives, but because it was posted by their friends and relatives. There’s a big difference.

The most common posting of this type is disappeared children. Because it’s such a great tragedy to lose your child, people are compelled to share these posts whenever they see them. I have found that many of these children have been found or are inventions.

I can hear you say “but you never know, you might be helping someone.” Actually no, because you’re diluting the information about real children who are missing with information about children that aren’t missing.

Look, if you still feel you have to share these posts, at least do a basic check. If you can’t find information about the child having been found, then you can share it. How’s that for a compromise?

Speaking of which…

6.- Do a Basic Check

There is a reason why you should look at names, places, dates and sources. Because they are traceable.

Many times, the source itself will tell you it’s fake. If the piece of news comes from The Onion, unhingedmagazine.com or teaparty.org, you can immediately dismiss it.

If you think that the site of the source is legit, look for the even or news in other sources. Google and wikipedia are useful places to debunk fakebooks. Or, go to the mother of fakebook-killers: snopes.org.

magical anti aging

Who knew that the cure to aging would cost only 5 bucks?

 

When not busy mixing his whites with colors, Flippy works as a writer, translator, and language teacher. In his free time, he plays video games, takes photos, and writes funny stuff. You can find his Tiny Horsies: The RPG book for parents and children, published by Relentlessly Creative Books on DrivethruRPG.com.

©2016, all rights reserved
published with the permission of the author

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