It’s been said before, and it’s worth saying again: FACT CHECK EVERYTHING YOU POST.
We all share items on social media. In most cases, we share them because we believe they articulate our own thoughts better than we could ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with that. But before you share anything, please fact check it to make sure that it is what it purports to be.
Case in point: An article about Covid-19 attributed to Dr. Anthony Fauci is circulating on social media. The medical points made in the article are accurate, but in the second part of the article, the language used abruptly veers off into shaming anyone who might disagree with the medical facts. This type of language is not in keeping with the tone of a clinical article, and a professional of Dr. Fauci’s stature would never write in such terms. The article was not actually written by Dr. Fauci; it just co-opts his name and perceived authority as a device to deliver a put-down to the anti-mask faction. This happens often in the cut-and-paste world of social media.
The problem with posting an unverified article like this – even if it’s factually correct, and even if the sentiments expressed are aligned with your thinking – is that it doesn’t help advance your argument. It actually works against you, and here’s why:
- You post an article purportedly by Dr. Fauci, attempting to offer medical education to those who need it.
- Your skeptical intended audience fact checks it, and discovers he didn’t write the article. They use that one falsehood to cry “fake news” and dismiss everything that’s in the article – even the medically accurate information.
- Any future posts you make are now easily discredited because of this one error.
Information moves at light speed. So do disinformation and misinformation. Yes, it’s important to share wisdom. It may even be fun to score points against those with whom you disagree. But don’t let your emotional impulses overtake your common sense. Stay centered, and take a minute or two to research and make sure that what you’re posting checks out.