At least once a week, usually more often, a friend of mine will post something that supports their viewpoint. Sometimes the post is so obviously incorrect, I take the moment to google for more information. Usually, I can find the truth in less than 60 seconds. Sometimes it takes a few minutes and on a very rare occasion I learn that the post is at least partially true (I cannot stress how rare this happens).
What harm does it do to post something incorrect?
Given how often incorrect information is reposted, it does a lot of harm. In some cases, it's relatively harmless like the picture posted by a friend who believes this is an actual photo from the Hubble telescope. No real harm done except to their reputation for accuracy which I will apply to future posts from them.
But what about my friend who posts that Bible's aren't allowed in school? That creates a real issue and tension that is not useful. What about the time Obama didn't salute a Marine? Well, it's partially true but he did shake his hand. Despite what some email says, George Bush did not wave at Stevie Wonder and his IQ is not the lowest of all presidents ever.
Misleading pictures and information used to be something we had very little choice but to believe. Now, we have a chance to verify information. Sure, some things are harder to grasp. Global climate change is over most of our heads so we tend to choose to believe based on our bias because the facts are so confusing. Yet, some things are SO simple and obvious.
Please do me and everyone else a favor and stop posting things that are false. It takes away from how smart you are and reduces intellect everywhere.
Perhaps even join me in my quest to politely help friends and family learn the truth. When you find a clearly false post, link to the facts and encourage them to take a quick look because you know they wouldn't want to spread false information.
At a bare minimum, please look at snopes.com before reposting. www.snopes.com is pretty good about catching the most obvious false information.