When fake news goes viral

According to IFL Science, a dangerous piece of fake news has been making the rounds on FaceBook. They are pleading with FaceBook users to stop sharing it.

The big problem, in my opinion, has several causes.

People share stories without checking. Remember the early part of the century, when a lot of people were just getting the internet for the first time. You’d get an email from a well-meaning friend or relative about the Microsoft/AOL merger. If you forward the email to five people, you’ll make money. I can’t tell you how many times I got the same email. It drove me up the wall. How do we counter this? Check out a story before sharing it.

People don’t understand science. The US education system sucks.  When people hear something that involves science, they tend to believe it, especially if there is a chance that there is a conspiracy somewhere. How do we counter this? Learn about science.

Americans don’t trust the government. Americans love a good conspiracy theory. From Kennedy’s assassination to 911, Sandyhook to Las Vegas, Americans tend to doubt the “official story.” In fact, for a lot of people, it’s a default position. Maybe I’ll write a bit more on that later. Standby.  But as far as how to counter this tendency, good luck!

At any rate, here is the article, pleading people to stop sharing the urban myth that the flu shot has caused several deaths.

Read the disclaimer. This site is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice.