Saturday, June 30, 2012

What's Worse than a Computer Virus?

What I’m about to talk about is potentially worse than a computer virus. A computer virus pretty much stays on your computer. Granted, you may have to fork over $1000+ to replace your gaming machine if the Bios had been corrupted beyond repair, but that is the most damage it could cause. Thanks to antivirus software, and more people who are taking precautions, the damage a computer virus can do is limited.

Not this. Not only can the damage go beyond a computer, but people willing contribute, thinking they are doing their good deed for the day, unknowingly being potentially damaging to an innocent person.
I’m talking about the "OMG! Your life may be in danger, the world is coming to an end, Please pass this on to save lives" posts and to a lesser extent “this person is missing, please pass this on”.
DO YOUR RESEARCH! There's thing called "Google" and a quick search can tell you whether or not if something is a hoax. If it is relatively new, then it may not show up on the truth search sites like snopes, but an absence of news articles should tip you off.
So far, it seemed that these were pretty harmless: beware of a baby, child, grandma, puppy that’s on the side of the road because it could be a trap. Moral of the story, not everything is what it seems and something that appears to be innocent could be dangerous. This story is as old as the story of Creation. A beautiful tree with delicious looking fruits – deliciously deadly enough to change the course of humankind as they knew it.
Harmless, somewhat, but quite annoying as they flood out the more important posts: Ones that reflect the political climate and whether or not a friend had come back from the doctors with a clean bill of health. So, I don’t pass them on. Sometimes I’ll check Snopes and post a link to the fact that it was a hoax and once… out of the thousands of similar posts, just once, there was one that was mostly true.
However, there was one that really set me off:
Destructive Hoax
Nothing so far has shown up in Google, which means that this is a new post and the truth sites hadn’t had a chance to look at it yet – but it’s not just the lack of hits on sites like Snopes that tipped me off. It was the lack of hits on news sites. Something like this should have made news, especially if it affects the US.

Now consider for a moment, if you are the one of the people who passed this on, You have caused people do doubt a product. YOU have caused this company to lose customers. If the company fails within the next few months, YOU could have contributed to it’s demise – even if there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it’s product.

The worse part is, that this type of hoax does not leave the internet. I can guarantee that three years from now, whether or not this company exists, I will still be seeing this photo in my timeline.
Now, what if this was a supposed "Sexual Predator" who is completely innocent?  No matter where he goes, someone will recognize him, and whereever he his, people will avoid him.  It would be difficult to get a job, even if the owner of the business thinks he's innocent, they may have to consider the ramifications of hiring a rumored pervert.

And by passing these along, people who thought they were doing a good deed, were actually destroying an innocent person.

So, please, do your research before you repost anything. It just takes a few moments to brush aside your emotions and the need to be heroic (not a bad thing, as this is a natural human need) and go onto Google, Bing, and type in a whatever is the "offending" product/person (i.e. "baby carrier gangs" or "Frooti AIDS").  Then click on the first truth seeking site there is (usually snopes) or click "news" and see what you can see.

IF you don't see anything, wait about a half hour, check the original picture comments and chances are, someone had found a link to a site that says it's a hoax or even, perhaps, a news article that prove it to be true.
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