Whoa, Cowboy! Check the Facts Before You Forward That Email

14 09 2009

Beware the slanderous emails circulating before you forward.Whoa, cowboy! You may want to check the facts before you forward that email. Have you received an email about any of the following in the past: Nostradamus predicting the 9/11 tragedy, women need to watch out for the rapist hiding under their car (usually heightens around Christmas shopping season), a 9-year-old girl named Penny Brown is missing (same girl, same name, same photo, same info circulating for the last 8 years) and a large beverage distributor pulling their product from an Arab-owned convenience store because they were celebrating the fall of the twin towers on 9/11. Most of these emails prey on the fears or emotions of the people they wish to incite expecting (apparently, correctly) that no one will actually check to see if these things are true. Some of these guys have even taken to writing that they checked this info on snopes.com and it is true. If anyone in that long chain of forwarded emails had actually checked snopes.com, they would see that it was, indeed, false.

While some of these emails can be slightly entertaining (contrary to popular reports, chewing gum does NOT take 7 years to digest in your stomach), many of these emails can be slanderous. When big corporations are involved, it seems that people are much quicker to believe the negative than to entertain the possibility that it is only a rumor. I recently received such an email from a family member which claimed that a prominent coffee company was refusing to send free coffee to military personnel overseas because they didn’t support the war. A quick check on snopes.com showed this to be a rumor circulating for years and years and was not true. When told of this information, my relative asked me “How do you know you can trust them (snopes)?” Fair enough question. I simply googled the name of the alleged original emailer and found 61,600 other references to this. My relative was willing to believe an unsubstantiated rumor but didn’t want to just assume that the opposite may be true.

False emails like the one about the girl Penny Brown act against the very real and important Amber Alerts that circulate. (If Penny Brown is false, how do I know THIS one is true?) As a victim of slander myself and seeing slander thrown at other members of the Active Rain community, I wonder why it is so easy to throw this information into the internet atmosphere without worrying about the consequences it might incur. If you forward a slanderous email, are you responsible for slander as well? Is this what you want to represent you? Check your facts before you forward that email.

**This photo was taken by my very own camera and is my property. However, if you like what you see and want to use it for yourself, feel free to do so. Simply mention where you got it. I’d appreciate it. **

Heather Chavez, Real Estate Virtual AssistantSecond Self Virtual Assistance: When There Isn’t Enough of You to Go Around!

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