"You can't believe everything you read on the internet." That's a statement that surely we've all heard more times than we could count. Truthfully, if you seek out the correct sources, you can believe just about everything you read. It may take a little longer to do the research, but imagine how much smarter the world would be if everyone was willing to seek out the truth.
Technology makes information so accessible and learning has never been easier than it is now. About 77% of American adults own cellphones and therefore have the whole world at their fingertips. The problem is that so many think they have all the answers because they have Facebook accounts. A quick meme is apparently enough to tell you about the government, the economy, or any other type of news.
If it looks legitimate or if they've seen it enough, it must be true, right? I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but no. Not at all, actually.
Just because there's a whole news article on something, it doesn't even come close to making it truthful.
And yet, every time I log on to Facebook, I'm bombarded with false information via articles, memes, and statuses. It doesn't even have anything to do with age or life experience. People of all types have fallen victim to false information.
And this false information spreads like a wildfire. But it's awesome, because there are plenty of websites out there, like Snopes and PolitiFact, to clean up the mess. What's frustrating, though, is that not enough people are willing to use their best judgment, let alone utilize the sites. It literally takes an extra two minutes to double check that meme they saw about Hillary Clinton hosting a child sex ring in a pizza restaurant. Instead, they just click that "share" button and it goes to their just-as-gullible friends and it keeps circulating.
Then, the information moves from the World Wide Web to the actual real world and the crazy information floods the street. Now, just in passing, anyone with or without social media can hear the lies being spread.
These days, people are so proud of their opinions, especially when they think they have facts to back them up. Little do they know how irrelevant they are. Any sentence started with "I saw on Facebook that..." is not going to end well.
It's more than irritating to go online and see so many seemingly obviously wrong things spread all over the place by people I would otherwise assume were pretty smart. I've personally lost a lot of respect for the people in my life because of the things I've seen them post and discuss. It's making it understandable that so many are losing faith in humanity.
So, please, for the sake of humanity, fact check. Fact check everything. And if there's no time to fact check, then there shouldn't be enough time to share it, spread it, or talk about it. When in doubt, just don't say anything.