Can there be a time when it’s not really right to share? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Last night after finishing the blog entry, I’m surfing Facebook some and see a story shared on Facebook about how Head and Shoulders shampoo causes a fungus to show up on people. It’s really one of those most disgusting pictures that you will have a hard time getting out of your mind so I’m going to be nice and not put it up, but what I will say is not only had one person posted it on Facebook, which they had got from someone else, but it had already also been shared.
There’s a problem with the story.
It’s not true.
Unfortunately, when you’re on Facebook it’s easy to share a story that isn’t true and have it spread like wildfire. Unfortunately, such sharing can do great harm. Consider for instance that there are real people with real families working at these companies. When you spread false information about them, then if that information spreads enough, you could put someone’s job in jeopardy. Naturally, that would take a lot of misinformation, but it starts somewhere.
The case is even worse if you are a Christian. After all, you are supposed to be a person of truth. How does it help your witness if you share a story that someone can verify to be false within five minutes if you try to then say “Hey. I want you to trust your eternity on the fact that Jesus died and rose again 2,000 years ago.” If they cannot trust you in the small matters, why should they in the larger? If you are gullible and naive enough on the small matters, would it not be more likely you will be so on the larger matters as well?
So what can you do?
When you see a story on Facebook, do a good basic search. I often go to a site like Snopes.com. Look and see if anyone else has done any looking on this. Has anyone else confirmed it is a hoax? If no one else has, then it will be up to you to do your own research.
When it comes to that, look for specifics. Do they mention a specific time, place, person, etc. Suppose they mention Dr. XYZ. Okay. Go look up Dr. XYZ. See if he’s been mentioned anywhere. Did they mention the town of Podunk in some state? Then go look up on the web to see if any local news stations or news papers have mentioned anything that is being described in the article. Still can’t find anything? Then go with caution. If you cannot confirm the story, then don’t share it.
Once you share a false story, even if you remove it, that does not mean everyone will go back and see your correction. It doesn’t mean anyone they might have shared it with will either. The damage could already be done. It’s good to delete a post and remove what was said, but it would have been better to have never posted it anyway. Remember always the first question to ask is “Is it true?” If it isn’t, then don’t.
Not only can you damage someone else’s livelihood in some way, you will damage your reputation and Christian witness.