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Stop reposting hoaxes, political and otherwise

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Summary:
Sick of hoaxes on Facebook and Twitter?  How to find out if a meme is a hoax.

 

Details:

You’ve seen it before, and a lot during the political season.  People pass on pictures with stats or words on them, and thousands of people pass them on, assuming the text is true.  These “memes” can pass lies on to millions of people through Facebook and Twitter.
The weasels that start the memes (before you see them) know that most people won’t do the research to find out if the meme is true.  Here is how you can stop the madness:
  • Take a few words of the meme, in exact order, and type them into Google in a separate window
  • Windows tip: to put two windows side by side, do the following:
    • To move your current window to the left half of the screen, hold down the Windows key (to the right of the left <Ctrl> key), then press the left arrow
    • If that window is only taking up half of that side of the window, press the down arrow
    • To move a new window to the right, hold down the Windows key, then hit the right arrow
  • Make sure you have the exact words from the meme in exact order in the google search box
  • Now look at the results
  • Look for believable sites.  This is the hard part, but they will often be on the top, and in addition to news sites, other sites that are great at dispelling hoaxes are
    • snopes.com
    • truthorfiction.com
    • hoax-slayer.com
    • urbanlegends.about.com
The people who start memes usually don’t do it with text, because it would be easier for knowledgeable people to copy and paste for a quick Google search.  Here is an example about privacy of your Facebook statuses
If you just Google the first few words,
All your posts can become public tomorrow
And you can see a series of results that all show that this is a hoax.

Please use this technique to see if something is a hoax before passing it on to others.

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