Hoaxes and misinformation are hard to avoid online.
Hoaxes and misinformation are hard to avoid online.

I read it online so it must be true

NEW laws  are coming in - if you post a legal notice to the front of your house, your home owner rights won't be infringed under new legislation.

Scroll to the end of this post to download the notice and follow the enclosed instructions.

Just kidding!

Sort of. I see "official sounding" posts like this every day and requests to post them on another type of property- your online property.

Whether it's a website, a Facebook page or forwarding it from your email account.

I've been told that forwarding on an email will mean I receive an iPad from Bill Gates (I don't know when Bill joined Apple, but it must be a well kept secret!)

I know the internet has been around for more than two decades, but it still seems people don't understand that it's made by people, for people and that means it's not infallible.

Writing on the internet, I'm all too aware that people take many of my articles as verbatim fact, without even considering where the information came from or the credentials of the author.

Unfortunately many people who have any type of notibility on the internet fail to have any credibility.

People have even started diagnosing illnesses off Google - I'd be interested to know if there has been an increase in hypochondria since the inception of the internet.

My general rule of thumb on the online is that if an item has been copied-and-pasted or the author is not willing to show their credentials (and a distance education course in first aid doesn't cut it!) then I'll check somewhere that is legitimate.

Or even, surprisingly, with a real professional in a real office.

So how do you check if something with no background information on the internet is legitimate?

Easy! Google the text of the item you want to check, or look on a site like Snopes or Hoax-Slayer - both sites are legitimate sources that double check internet myth and urban legends.

And if you've scrolled to the bottom of the post to find the legal notice. Well… no comment.

Want to find out about some common online scams and rumours. Check out Snopes
 



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