There's an article making the rounds on Facebook with surprising resilience. Actually, most of the things that go around Facebook surprise me with their staying power. But this particular article is about how Pope Francis said a bunch of very un-Catholic nonsense. (Subsequently a bunch of un-Catholic people got so very excited about it, because they are clinging to this delusion fed to them by the media that the Pope is going to stop being Catholic.) Ahem. Anyway, the article in question is from a SATIRE website. It's like The Onion but not cool or funny or edgy. It's called diversitychronicle. I won't post a link to the drivel here but a handful of my nice, intelligent friends have reposted the article. Anyway it's sort of hard to tell that diversitychronicle is satire because they present everything as fact. So no hard feelings, I know these people aren't stupid or anything. It just really got me thinking about how often I see hoaxes posted on Facebook as fact. So I thought I'd share my helpful list that has saved me from posting inaccuracies many times (though I've made my share of mistakes too) because let's be honest, the Pope Francis article is just the tip of the iceberg. So here we go. My list of questions to ask myself before I click "SHARE" on Facebook.
1. Is it extremely convenient to your worldview? Perhaps you are into natural remedies (as I am) and you found definitive proof that dandelions cause immortality and cure hemorrhoids and Tourette's. Probably shouldn't post (although dandelions DO have health benefits. *cough*)
2. Is it way too conveniently harmful to the view of someone you don't like? Possibly a link offering photographic evidence that the president wears makeup to cover up his devil-horn-ectomy scars...Probably too good to be true. But even if it's not blatantly silly or ridiculous...probably too good to be true.
3. In other words, is it just plain too good to be true?
4. Is it going to cause a huge emotional reaction? Is it sugary sweet, or tugs on your heartstrings? Tempting to post, but do research. This is the one that I see most often. I saw a post on Pinterest with a photo of a baby who had supposedly been aborted at 24 weeks gestation, with harsh words for the mother. I happened to have followed that baby's story and knew that the baby was not aborted, but very much wanted, and tragically did not survive. I hope his mother never saw the ignorant post that treated her son's body as an object to further an agenda. Even though it's an agenda I happen to agree with (the not killing unborn babies agenda), there is no excuse for that sort of ignorance. It hurts people. Real people. In real life. Our actions matter, even online.
5. Does something major depend on your reposting it? Will a doctor provide free care to a young cancer patient if only she gets so many likes? Will Jesus be personally offended if you don't repost? DO. NOT. REPOST. Seriously every time you like and/or share one of those pages, a shark eats a kitten. Fact.
6. Is it from the dailycurrant? Just....don't.
7. Is it from the Onion? Feel free to repost/share, but armed with the knowledge that it is satire, and with a sense of responsibility toward your friends who are quick to believe. ;)
8. Is poorly written? If so, I don't care if it's factual. Don't encourage it! Kill it with fire. (the article, not the author.)
9. Are there sources? Check em
10. Check the comments. Are the intelligent-sounding people offering proof to the contrary? Are the people who agree with the article saying stuff like "dis is y u r stupid!"?? Consider the opinions of the other commenters. It's ok to allow others to help you form an informed opinion.
11. Here's the one that would be most helpful for something that seems extremely believable (as some thought the Pope Francis article was, for reasons beyond my comprehension)
Have many days, weeks, months, or even years passed since the article was written, yet it only came out on some obscure website? Major news like a THIRD VATICAN COUNCIL and not one mention of it on mainstream media?? (granted, there are many things mainstream media will not report, but this would be huge world news and they would. ) There would also be rioting in the streets. Just saying. Also, a glance at the date is helpful because maybe the content of the article no longer matters, even if it was true at one time. If it's a fundraiser, it may not be going on anymore. A lost child may have been found already.
I get that it's a long list. Who has time for that nonsense? Not me. And that's why, unless I just really care a whole lot about the subject being discussed, I just keep scrollin' instead of researching, liking, and reposting. Cause I have cat memes to share.
Well that's it folks. I meant all of this in the most humble, non-patronizing way. Honest. Because I have fallen victim to the same thing! Or maybe I am being a little tiny bit snarky because I'm a million months pregnant and super moody. Either way I love you :D Peace.
PS please check out my "Favorite Blogs" on the sidebar and read the amazing homebirth story of my godson baby Jack over at LettersFromBlayne. It will make you feel warm and fuzzy after reading my hormonal rant.