Viral Facebook rumours are one of the most commonly experienced phenomena on the social networking site. Spread from user to user, different rumours seem to pop up every day. But whilst many rumours appear to be harmless, and many Facebook users post them “just in case”, what you may not realise is that every false rumour is detrimental to the site and our experiences on it. Read our reasons why you should always research a rumour before passing it on, and make sure you read the number 1 point as well!
12 Posting false rumours can be personally damaging to innocent individuals.
Rumours that identify names, addresses or photographs have the potential to seriously damage somebody’s reputation, to the point where their very safety could be put into jeopardy. These rumours can target innocent people, and make their lives very difficult. See here.
11 Posting false rumours take up bandwidth and space.
10 Posting false rumours take time to read, share and act upon. Time is not refundable.
When you spread a rumour that isn’t true, you’re not only wasting your own time and effort, but the time and effort of your friends as well. The time to read it, to think about it and to repost it – then the time your friends take to do the same, or to repute it, or to sometimes act upon it. That time isn’t refundable.
9 Posting false rumours often steal photos belonging to other Facebook users, which can cause much upset.
You may think that a photo you share doesn’t have an owner, or that the owner will never see it, but you’d be wrong. We have seen multiple cases where photos have been used without permission and has caused great upset others. See here.
8 Posting false rumours can cause unnecessary panic and distress to Facebook users.
Some of the most successful rumours use alarmist panic inducing topics (hackers, for example) as a catalyst to viral success. However nearly all of these panic inducing rumours are false, and only cause needless distress to Facebook users, despite being obviously false and easily dismissible.
7 Posting false rumours make you look foolish.
When you post a rumour to your Facebook status and within a few minutes one of your more diligent friends posts a link in the comments completely dispelling the rumour, it make you look foolish, especially considering researching a rumour usually only takes around a minute or two.
6 Posting false rumours can stir up racial hatred which causes isolation to ethnic minorities.
Many rumours are designed not to tell the truth but to stir up hatred towards minorities. Such rumours distort the truth to needlessly anger the reader. These rumours ultimately cause unnecessary hate.
5 Posting false rumours can help scammers
Facebook scammers love it when false rumours go viral because it makes it easier for them to lure victims when they know lots of people are looking for the same information. When viral rumours hit, scammers set up websites and Facebook pages using that false information to lure victims to various scams.
4 Posting false rumours are often designed purely to attack personal figures or companies.
Many false rumours are propaganda, and by sharing them you are simply helping the flow it. Such rumours are often designed to attack companies or people using baseless and inaccurate information, and by passing it on you are helping the people who start the rumours.
3 Posting false rumours induces more false rumours.
If false rumours never gained any viral success then the people who started them in the first place wouldn’t bother. Posting false rumours across the Internet only means that more false rumours are going to appear, sooner and faster. When a hoaxer sees that a particular hoax has been successful, they will start another, similar one.
2 9 out of 10 rumours that we see circulate Facebook are either totally false or inaccurate.
Of all the various Facebook photos, captions, messages and other communications that are passed through our Facebook page or website for analysis around 9 out of 10 are too inaccurate to be circulated.
1 Posting false rumours devalues the extent to which social networking acts as an effective method of spreading true information.
Of all the reasons to make sure the information you pass around is accurate – this is – in our opinion, one of the most important and universal reasons. Have you ever heard of the boy who cried wolf? It’s exactly the same principle here. Every time someone passes along nonsense to their Facebook friends, they are thus cheapening and lessening the consequences of passing along information that is actually true.
You see, sites like Facebook have this fantastic ability to communicate to the masses with viral messages. We can do things such as send out alerts, breaking news, raise money and even help keep the corporate world in check, along with many other great things. But we can only do things like this effectively when the information is true. Every time false information is passed along Facebook, it lessens our ability to do any of that. It is the responsibility of every Facebook user to ensure that the information they share with their friends is true information. If they don’t, they are not only belittling and devaluing their own Facebook experience, but also the experience of every person who uses Facebook. It’s time to stop the cesspool of propaganda and baseless rumours, and turn Facebook into an effective communication tool for everyone who uses it.
Remember, the vast majority of rumours circulating Facebook can be immediately dismissed in only a minute or so by using Google or any number of anti-hoax sites like us. Take the time, use your common sense and always ask someone if you’re not sure. It won’t only help you by doing this, but everyone who uses Facebook.