General Question

Stinley's avatar

When people post scare stories on Facebook that are hoaxes, should I tell them? How could you be polite when doing so?

Asked by Stinley (11479points) February 17th, 2014

I often see stories on Facebook that are so obviously hoaxes. For example there’s one about the Talking Angela app I saw the other day. Another one about a series of women getting raped when they go to help a crying baby/child at the side of the road. Do you point out that they are fake? I’d like to but I don’t want to offend the person, so I tend to say nothing. Once or twice I just put in a link to the story on Snopes or another hoax busting site.

I hate the fact that these stories get spread around, causing fear and misery unnecessarily. Especially the ones about women getting attacked as I feel that they are deliberately intended to keep women fearful and not able to stand up for themselves.

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30 Answers

syz's avatar

I usually post this (if I’m being polite).

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’ve posted one before, and someone just put “see, this isn’t true.” It’s not a big deal.

Mariah's avatar

I do it too, in a similar manner, by just saying something like “this is a commonly reposted claim, but turns out it’s actually a hoax,” and a link to Snopes. I think it’s fine to do. Maybe a little annoying, but it’s better that people don’t fall for this stuff.

filmfann's avatar

I usually post the Snopes results, but people get angry when I do! It’s like I am telling them there is no Santa. They get defensive, and call me all kinds of bad names they have for “Liberals” (which I am assuredly NOT).

Cruiser's avatar

I hate seeing people be swept up in false stories and will msg them and let them know. Like @KNOWITALL said it is really no big deal when it happens.

Coloma's avatar

Who cares, really?
People are perfectly capable of doing their own research, if they want to be gullible and believe/repeat whatever stories they hear, let ‘em. Not your job to be a public informant.

DominicX's avatar

I still see people posting “The Onion” articles as shocking fact. I just have to remind them that it’s a satirical paper…

Juels's avatar

I get annoyed with people who pass those emails without bothering to validate them. I usually send them a private message with a snopes link to let them know it is a hoax.

glacial's avatar

I always tell them. It’s the only way to keep it from spreading. I’ll usually post the relevant Snopes page, or if I think they’ll take the time to read it, I post this article.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I just pm’d a friend of mine who posted that picture of that supposedly contrite bull fighter. I sent him the Snopes link that showed it wasn’t true. PMing is better than public comments, IMO.

I have another friend who constantly posts stuff that isn’t true. They are always disproved by Snopes. I can’t understand how she could keep posting and posting after having been corrected a thousand times, and not start checking Snopes first.

@DominicX I’ve tried posting Onion articles as though they were a fact just to see who will bite. No one ever does. :(

DigitalBlue's avatar

I do the same as @Mariah. Some people are thankful, and relieved that the story is untrue. Every now and then people get agitated about being corrected, no matter how politely. Some people would rather share misinformation than admit they are wrong.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^^ It kind of reminds me of those who believe in miracles…many get upset when you explain something in logical terms.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III Hey you ^, I resemble that remark. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh brother. Sure enough that person I was referring to earlier posted the Talking Angelina rumor. My first comment was, “I’m going to check on this one.” My next comment was to the link that showed it was false.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

I occasionally get a scare-story email. Some kind, concerned soul reads something terrifying and wants to warn all of his/her friends, relatives, and acquaintances.

I immediately Reply – All and say that if this [fill in the blank] were true, don’t you think we’d know about it?

For example, if someone had really placed hypodermic needles filled with an AIDS virus solution into bus and subway seat cushions, wouldn’t this news be broadcast all over CNN, MSNBC, every major network, etc.?

Back in 1982, someone poisoned a few bottles of over-the-counter pain medications with cyanide. It really happened, and people died. The story dominated every news medium for months. New anti-tampering laws were enacted; that’s why you now need to remove a plastic collar and peel a cover from the opening of every aspirin bottle.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The friend that I pm’d about the “contrite bull fighter” story thanked me. I knew he’d appreciate it.

My other friend doesn’t, I don’t think.

amujinx's avatar

I usually just link snopes unless someone else beats me to it.

@Dutchess_III If people aren’t biting on your links to The Onion, start using The Daily Currant instead. Not as many people know it’s a satirical site. I burned some friends with this story just last week.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
laureth's avatar

I do the Snopes thing myself, but then I have people write back and tell me that Snopes is fake, run by George Soros, etc etc – have you folks had to deal with that?

Another thing I might do is, if there’s a picture, grab the picture’s URL and do a Google Image search on it. 9 times out of 10 it’s a picture of some other thing. This happened when there was that “big trucker protest” around Washington DC. All these people were posting pictures of huge truck protests in, say, Italy, rather than the 4 or 5 semis that rode around DC.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah, I’ve gotten that.

Stinley's avatar

I like @Dutchess_III idea of saying it sounds dodgy then coming back with the link.

People seem so gullible and it’s almost that they want these horrible stories to be true.

hearkat's avatar

I usually post links to the correct information, or to snopes or other de-bunking site.

jca's avatar

I’ll post the link and explain that it’s untrue according to Snopes or whatever. I don’t do it via PM because I feel that all the people that see the thread should also see that it’s untrue.

zenvelo's avatar

I’ll post a link to snopes or anything else that shows it’s a hoax. I do that on Facebook, too. I have friend who likes to repost things that have been circulating for years, like the one about a bad week for a battalion in Afghanistan, that dates back 6 or 7 years.

RocketGuy's avatar

I Snope them too.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The friend I have that continually posts old stuff really pissed me off last night. At about 9:00 I got an Amber Alert on my phone of an abduction of a 10 year old girl that happened about 5:00 yesterday, in Springfield. I immediately posted the info, which included the make, model, color and license plate of the car, on my facebook. Very quickly others began sharing and posting the same thing, just in other formats. My page was blowing up.
In the middle of it my friend posted an outdated Amber Alert from 2012. I wanted to choke her. I responded, “Checking”
Then, within 60 seconds, posted the link the showed it was an old, and happily resolved case. I mean, you’d think someone would get the hint after about 60 times.

The Amber Alert I got didn’t end well. They have a suspect in custody, and initial reports say the girl is dead.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I must have gotten about 6 Amber Alerts in the last 3 days that are outdated and resolved long ago. I finally posted a plea to please double check them before they post them because it distracts from real and current Amber Alerts.

I also included a plea to do a little research before posting something that sounds outrageous. I included a link to

Think anyone will listen?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh yeah…I had one of them shared twice on my page today. When I clicked on the link which was included in the post it took me directly to the page saying they’d found the kid safe, back in December of last year. I mean, how hard it that?

Stinley's avatar

I found a link to an article about the Talking Angela app yesterday. I posted it on my facebook. I don’t think people will take any notice though.

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