If you have a Facebook page, you get a lot of posts of pictures of sad children, people with horrific injuries and disabilities, and other assorted tragedies followed by "instructions" from the person who passed it to you.
Like: You care about this sad child but not much
Like & Share: You think her life is precious
Scroll down: You think she is ugly
Then, of course, there's the instructions with a threat:
- Share if you love Jesus. Don't share and you go to hell (or have no heart or don't love Jesus or are a cruel unfeeling person).
- Ninety nine percent of you won't pass this along, but I will know who my friends are.
- Send a copy of your share to me so I'll know who my friends are.
WHY PEOPLE POST THIS STUFF:
- GUILT - Somebody sent this to some trusting kind-hearted person and that person felt bad not passing it along as their friend asked them to. Don't get mad at them. They're probably new to Facebook or don't fully understand how it works and it seems a small thing to do. These folk are victims. They don't start this stuff.
- MEANNESS - Some people get a sense of satisfaction and feeling of power from seeing how many people they can manipulate into liking and sharing their phony posts (and a horrific number of these posts are phony believe me). This person does this to make himself feel superior to the rest of us. I prefer not to aid him in this perverse form of digital masturbation.
- POLITICS - Some political true believers feel that creating hysteria, guilt, sadness or anger serves their political ideology's purpose and besides people are stupid and can be controlled by these types of propaganda stories and photos. Besides, they believe that the ends justify the means.
- RELIGION - Some people think God needs a better public relations agency and have nominated themselves to promote God and improve his image among the rubes by making up stories of miracles, tragedies, angels and atrocities that can somehow be solved by cutting and pasting a phony story all over Facebook. Of course God will one day have something to say about falsehoods being propagated in his name, but believe it or not some people who call themselves Christians have failed that admonition in the Bible.
- INSECURITY - To some sad souls, when people like or share their posts on Facebook, they feel somehow validated as a person. Many of them suffer from borderline personality disorder or narcissism or some other condition that compels them to seek approval. If they don't happen to be terribly talented or successful, they seek approval by demanding that people like or share their posts, no matter if its coercive or bullying. So long as they get likes and shares, they feel validated.
Don't be angry with your friends who get caught up in this - they've been manipulated. Ironically, the nicer your friends are, the more likely they'll get caught up in what is essentially group bullying, and do so quite accidentally. Most pass this stuff along so their friends won't be angry with them for not passing it on. Some of these posts say directly that they will be hurt if their friends don't pass it on, so the guilty feeling person passes it along quickly, quite forgetting that the manipulative bullying part goes right along with the shared post and then sounds like it is coming from them - your nice friend whom you know and trust. The next person who gets it knows it's from a nice person, but is afraid they may be in distress or something and passes it along too - in order to please the friend they trust.
FIND OUT IF IT'S TRUE. That kid with cancer who is holding up the hand lettered sign asking, "How many 'likes' can I get?" may have died 15 years ago and someone dredged up his photo from some still bereaved Mom's Facebook photos and the Photoshopped it. They simply add the fake sign and turn it loose on social media with the admonition, "He didn't get one like. People are so cruel. Like and share if you care." The person who made this thing laughs every time it comes across his news feed and makes a note of who the "sucker" who fell for it this time is and marks them for further "research" to see if there's a con they can pull on them.
So, basically, it's done just like tyrants, dictators and cult leaders have done throughout the ages, dragging innocents and those who are vulnerable, trusting or naive into their web of lies. The originators are pretty much evil people. I don't know of a single person on my lengthy friends list who sits around making up these things, but plenty of nice God-fearing people pass this stuff on to me BECAUSE the are nice people and don't want to hurt the feelings of a dear friend who probably passed it on BECAUSE they did not want to hurt the feelings of a dear friend - and so on.
Another thing these liars do is denigrate hoax debunking sources like Snopes. If you've fallen for the "Snopes is bad" hoax, there are others you can use. Check out a great list of them in this article from TechRepublic.
WORSE YET: When you follow these things back to their source, you find some of the most heart-rending posts come from the most despicable people. I've found pornographers, Nigerian swindlers, lonely-hearts con artists and scary cultists at the origins. They care nothing about legless children, Down's syndrome kids, lost children, the poor, or the various outrages they promote. They're collecting names as their stuff circulates through social media. Some of it is salted with viruses and trackers. Others just get off on how many suckers they can get to fall for their lies.
THIS IS MY POLICY ON THIS STUFF:
- Unless the post is original with you, I won't pass it along unless I can check the original source and it's legit.
- I only pass along stuff I think is special and that I agree with and like a lot.
- I never cut and paste material from a post so as not to enable the disguising of a naughty person. These guys demand you cut and paste so people like me can't backtrack and find out who started it. When you cut and paste, you mask the original person who may well be a person from the opposition political party or a cult writing fakes stuff to discredit your side.
- I check the website of the original person. If it's nothing but share if you care posts, I block them if possible and if they are on my friends list, I banish them.
- I am careful who I accept as friends. I go to the person's website who is requesting a friendship. If there are only a couple of people on their friends list and nothing but selfies or share if you care posts, I ignore them. I don't delete the friend request because they can't send you another friend request later if the old one is still up and that reduces the chance of accidentally getting one of these parasites tangled up, not only with yourself, but with everyone on your friend's list.
- Finally, I always check amazing news stories first by backtracking and checking the originating website. If it's thetruthshallsetyourfree.org or trumpnews.com or exposingthelies.net or something like that, I take it with a grain of salt. There are many unfiltered phony news sites out there and the outright lies they tell are stunning in their audacity. And don't be fooled by the sites which include a tiny little disclaimer on the "About Us" page that says they are a satire site. Satire is supposed to be obviously false and funny. If you can mistake the stories they tell for actual news, then its not satire. It's lies.
I posted this to help my friendly doves to understand the mysterious and evil ways of the serpent. Let's be careful out there.
© 2017 by Tom King