This morning someone I know and respect was taken in by a hoax (urban myth). I recalled first reading it in a text-only context, that is before the World Wide Web! The only major “improvement” in all those years was adding some photos.
(Cute rat photo shamelessly stolen from Hoax Slayer.)
Of course there is always an element of truth in a good hoax. For the soda/pop cans, that the contents are high in sugar (which can screw up your metabolism), phosphoric acid (cola beverages, can rob your bones of calcium), artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, etc.
The one about the death due to a bite from a spider that was hiding under a toilet (outhouse) seat appeals in the same way that we find watching scary movies entertaining. Others use emotional appeals: sending a card to the child with cancer, posting in solidarity with Blackhorse Marines for an action in 2010.
A relative also got taken in by one of those “Facebook has removed this post! Share it before it gets removed again!” posts.
Disclosure time. I have managed databases and web sites for many years. There are commands in languages that have been around since the 1960s that can handle stuff like that nicely:
DELETE FROM table name WHERE column ...
You can build filters to keep such posts from appearing or schedule automatic cleanup runs. If you look at the text below the photograph, there are several giveaways.
Marsha Steele Lowry with Wendy Dial Mann and 33 others.
July 12, 2015 ·
Facebook has removed this post! Share it before it gets removed again!
THIS IS WHAT THE CONFEDERATE FLAG IS ALL ABOUT! HONOR AND RESPECT!
HERITAGE! NOT HATRED!
Can I get an Amen?
- If the post has been removed, how are you able to see it?
- The date is July 2015 — that means that the post has been up for over two years!
- Come on, what about “dog whistle” phrases do you not get?
I guess that means that the person who has been taken in and shared it assumes that the Facebook staff are really stupid (they are NOT) or careless.
So they tricked an ethical person into feeling righteous and spreading symbols of hate and racism.
Sad, very sad.