Navigation of the internet is a common motif of our generation. It has come to the point you’re plugged in even as part of your curriculum. Classes try to teach you how to go through the constant stream of information with a careful eye. We laugh at our parents falling for fake articles on Facebook.
We remember the the classic of react365.com. Make a fake article and send it around. People click on it, they get informed it was a prank. But if you just skim your feed, it can become fact. You share it without looking, clogging up timelines, it can cause outcry.
I think a famous example is the story of the accidental cremation of a funeral home employee. He was taking a nap on the stretcher, is accidentally loaded into the cremation machine. He is accidentally killed under the hot flames. It of course is a hoax, for numerous reasons. But it circulates every now and then. Of course the origins are unknown. A quick search can debunk it. THese hoaxes can easily be found to be completely falsified.
But people get scared. People in ways buy into the fantasy and the hysteria. an prime example is the Momo Challenge. One can look at it and see it is false. That the photo of “Momo” is a sculpture. That it was originally circulating in 2018. People talked about it, got angry, and Youtube addressed it. It gave validity to it, the fact that the entity talked about it. But we have to stop taking fear as fact.
There are no suicides linked to Momo, and videos have been debunked. It is a joke but people buy into it. People step up blogging stories about their experiences. It’s becoming a Creepypasta, yes. But parents becoming terrified for their children’s safety? Police departments warning about it? That comes from fear and misinformation.