How to Avoid Reposting Urban Legends

You’ve seen the emails and Facebook posts from your friends:

  • OMG – this famous actor just died!
  • Please take these actions to protect my Facebook privacy.
  • Watch out for this new computer virus!!!
  • A friend of a friend woke up in the bathtub with his kidney missing!!!!!

Frequently followed by a request to repost/forward to all of your friends.

But before you do that, take this step in order to avoid passing on an Urban Legend:

Not every post of this type is false, but many are. So before you risk spamming your friends and looking silly:

– Visit the website

– Enter some keywords from the email or Facebook post (e.g., “facebook” virus”, or “bathtub” “kidney”), or select the appropriate topic section (e.g., “computers”) from the home page or the column on the left side of other pages on the site.

– Fnd the item you are researching and note the color-coded symbol next to it (a “traffic light” system: green=true, red=false, yellow=undetermined).

– Click the link in the item to go to a page with more information.

Snopes sample page

Why should you believe Snopes?

The website was founded by Barbara and David Mikkelson, a husband and wife team who live and work in the Los Angeles area. What they began in 1995 as an expression of their shared interest in researching urban legends has since grown into what is widely regarded by folklorists, journalists, and laypersons alike as one of the World Wide Web’s essential resources.



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