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How To Tell the Truth from a Lie Online

Monday, September 17th, 2012

I recently saw a post on Facebook that went something like this:

OMG! Did you know that all your personal information is being shared everywhere on the web from your Facebook page? Here’s what you need to do to protect yourself:

1. Go to settings.

2. Click privacy.

3. Call your senator and ask them to enable privacy settings permanently on Facebook.

4. Set your settings to the setting that would set all your settings to private, NOT public!

5. Share this with all your friends so they can be bothered by this needless information.

While many of these spam-esque posts are needless (or just bothersome), some can actually do some harm. Hackers are known to gain valuable information from you after you click on a link, unknowingly giving them access to your computer and its contents. Many tools are available to help you tell the truth from a lie online.


Snopes is the grandaddy site for deducing fact from urban ledgend. Started in 1995, Snopes provides it’s readers with valuable information to take the sleuthing out of the investigative process. On of our favorite places to visit on Snopes is the Hot 25 page.

Upon a perusal of the list, I noticed one ledgend I fell for when I saw it on social media claiming that President Obama cancelled the National Day of Prayer. Not true.


‘Tis the season for fact-checking! Taking spin and stretching it to a thin line of truth or lie, FactCheck.Org fucntions similarly to Snopes but, as one would suppose, with a more political bent. Check out Don’t Get Spun by Internet Rumors on FactCheck.Org to learn that…

+General Motors is NOT becoming ‘China Motors’ by while using taxpayer dollars.

+President Obama is NOT giving several Alaskan islands to Russia.

+Congress is NOT raise its 2010 pay rate while voting to deny an increase in Social Security recipients.

 Your Brain (and maybe Google too)

The next time someone emphatically tells you top-secret “insider” information, take a moment to find the original source of the information and question the source. In the social media age, anyone can say anything and the message (wether true of false) can spread quickly.

It’s always smart to think before you send something out on Twitter. Or Facebook. Or StumbleUpon.