Despite what anyone says to the contrary, Facebook remains “the” social media platform and is used widely among all age groups as a primary tool to communicate with family and friends and for receiving news.
If it is on Facebook it must be true! False! Because of Facebook’s enduring and growing popularity, it is rife for rumors and scams. As we look to the new year, consider making these resolutions and take a big step to stop looking like an idiot.
- Google, Bing or otherwise search any celebrity quote before sharing. Chances are George Carlin, Pope Francis, Robin Williams, Albert Einstein or other influential/admirable/famous person never said that profound quote you are reading.
- Cease “liking” or “sharing” if you agree to whatever statement/post/image is guilting you to prove you have a conscience and moral compass. Pass these by. Liking these prompts, sharing the content or typing “Amen” does nothing for the cause. We all hate cancer and sick children, okay? The purveyors of these posts are mining likes and boosting their page insights. Why? The page that hosts the “viral” post can be renamed and sold with built-in metrics to make it look more attractive or influential.
- Typing something in the comments never changes the picture. Nothing amazing will happen!! Ever. Stop it, just stop it.
- What Disney princess are you? Okay, these are good for a giggle. I admit to succumbing to curiosity
and finally learning what decade I should return to, or what my favorite Beatle song says about me. There’s room for a little silliness in our lives. But, beware of quizzes that require an app to connect to your profile. Most of these apps are data miners. In your privacy settings, take a look at the apps you’ve authorized and delete, delete, delete those you don’t recognize.
- Famous people and large companies rarely, if ever, give anything away. Go to the official page, you know, the one with a blue check mark. Any official sweepstakes or contests will get a mention. Better yet, confirm on their official website. Betcha you don’t see anything about free money, cars, or trips. Local businesses do have promotions. Is it reasonable or too good to be true? A gift basket maybe, a Lamborgini, not likely. See #2.
- Death. Poor Morgan Freeman and Willy Nelson! They’ve died countless times on Facebook. Facebook pranksters are counting on our “OMG” reaction and desire to broadcast BREAKING NEWS. Evidence on Facebook demonstrates that we will share before verifying. If the bulletin is not originating from an official news site (with a blue check mark) search it before sharing.
- Ignore “OMG,” “Must See” prompts, especially when it requires you to download an app to view a video. You are downloading MALWARE and you will start sending all your friends ridiculous posts and emails that they will open and download because they come from a trusted, but stupid, friend.
- As seen on TV. Verified by a local police station. Snopes says so. Saying so doesn’t make it so. This happened to my friend…(um, no it didn’t). In fact, these proclamations of veracity are often a signal the news is bogus. So, as with all Facebook scams and hoaxes, the rule of thumb for practically everything you see on Facebook is…
- Search before sharing. Pretty much everything! Copy the headline and paste into your favorite search engine. A few seconds will save you from looking like a buffoon in front of your friends and family.
I’ve been caught a few notable and embarrassing times and vow to never let it happen again! Not to worry, you can still have fun on Facebook. Most laughing baby and funny cat videos are safe and full of guilt-free giggles. Quizzes on Buzz Feed might be utter nonsense, but so far, they’re harmless fun.