With social networking on a constant rise, hoaxers see popular sites such as Facebook, twitter, and the more outdated MySpace as good places to attack. If you have a Facebook account, you may have just noticed a viral status floating around that reads "IT IS OFFICIAL. IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS. FACEBOOK WILL START CHARGING DUE TO THE NEW PROFILE CHANGES. IF YOU COPY THIS ON YOUR WALL YOUR ICON WILL TURN BLUE AND FACEBOOK WILL BE FREE FOR YOU. PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON, IF NOT YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DELETE ID YOU DO NOT PAY". Not long after this post became viral, another post very similar arose. It seemed to hold stronger "evidence" by declaring the price grid for the new Facebook membership. Many people fell for this trickery, but if they would have just analyzed the situation, and applied the concepts of critical thinking, they would have been able to tell it was a fake.
A person could start with the concept of Extraordinary Claims. Is there extraordinary evidence to support this extraordinary claim? The answer is no. The post said, "IT IS OFFICIAL. IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS. FACEBOOK WILL START CHARGING DUE TO THE NEW PROFILE CHANGES". The closest thing to evidence in this part of the post is that it says "it was even on the news". This however, is incorrect. One could simply use the internet to find a news website and prove this statement false. There is also evidence that contradicts the entire post completely. The login screen for Facebook says. "It's free and always will be".
So next time you see or hear about one of these posts think critically before deciding to pass it on. Be a scientific skeptic and look for the evidence that proves it. Or just remember "it's free and always will be.
butle428: September 2011 Archives