Once upon a time, man used to place his faith upon the words recorded in books. Now, it is the internet. Anything that’s on the internet on Facebook, Twitter, or any social networking site, or through emails has to be true, right? Well, not necessarily. There are many rumours and false statements all over the internet, cloaked by such well-articulated explanations that it is difficult to understand that they are not valid. There are some hard-to-believe truths, too. Here are a few examples of stories going around the internet.
The Top 10 Internet Legends:
1) Liking/Sharing on Facebook Helps Raise Money for the Underprivileged
The image of a malnourished child or a handicapped soldier, etc. often pops up on the Facebook, requesting for a ‘like’ or ‘share’, to raise a dollar for each like or share for those in need. Mark Zuckerberg may be the world’s second highest donator, and NGOs might be trying to tie up with Facebook and utilize its possibly ‘Donate’ button, but, the likes and shares to not lead to the pooling of money to be sent to the person in the image. It is possible to start pages and conduct charitable work through the platform of Facebook, but, Facebook doesn’t itself gather money, and the like and share buttons do not work that way. This is an unauthorized sharing of distressed people’s images by ‘like’-seekers, motivated to drive traffic towards their page with a HOAX.
2) Mermaid Remains Found
On one hand, there is the image that claimed that the body of a mermaid/alien was found off the Malaysian sea-coast. On the other hand, there were the images that suggested that the skeleton of mermaids have been excavated by archaeologists. While the former is nothing but a sculpture by an artist named Juan Cabana, the second one is not any skeleton, but, the result of digital manipulation, with Worth1000 Photo Effects contest series of Archaeological Anomalies being the main sources of the images. So, mermaid/alien enthusiasts have to look for better proofs as these are just a great HOAX.
3) Dog-face Plastic Surgery
If the images are to be believed, a Brazilian man has gone under the knife to attack the snout of a dog to his face to become the first Dog-man. The truth behind this HOAX is that, Brazilian artist, Rodrigo Braga’s replica of his own head and had a veterinary surgeon sew the silicone cast of a euthanized dog’s ears and muzzle to it.
4) Giant Squid Raises Radioactive Gigantism
Dead bodies of giant squids measuring 160 feet seem to have started appearing at a furious rate, raising alarm about radioactive gigantism, and was claimed to have originated from the waters near a nuclear power plant in Japan. This flawed report is SATIRICAL, and was published in the source site, Lightly Braised Turnip, which publishes fake news. There is neither any local or national report of this event, nor are the names that are involved with this flawed report, real.
5) Eggs on Windshield/ Crying Babies Used by Criminals on Car Drivers
Crime alerts went viral about how criminal gangs throw eggs at car windshields which turn white on being wiped or sprayed with water and block the driver’s vision, forcing him to stop the car, and possibly step out. This is the moments that the criminals seize to attack the driver. Another warning said that crying babies came asking for help to compel car drivers to stop. Yet, a third one said that they are placing car seats with fake babies, with the same motif. However, all these are a big HOAX, and no report has been found, locally or nationally, in any part of the world. But, there is no reason to not be on the guards.
6) Date Rape Drug
Warning was repeatedly advertised about the rising prevalence of a ‘date rape’ drug named Progesterex, an animal sterilizer, which was being used with Rohypnol to addle, sedate and then rape a woman to the point where she remembers nothing the next morning. It was also rumoured that Progesterex made sure that the woman does not conceive as a result of the rape, and that the man’s semen cannot be traced, with the permanent infertility i.e. disability to conceive. While the concept of date rape is true, and Rohypnol is very much prevalent, there is no such drug as Progesterex. Date rape drugs do not cause infertility, either. While it is extremely important to be cautious, this flawed and incomplete rumour is nothing but an urban HOAX, probably meant to scare women into being more careful.
7) Oreo Cookies are Addictive
Messages online and some news reports seem to suggest that the favourite chocolate cookies by Oreo are as addictive as Cocaine. A study conducted at Connecticut College on rats showed that given the options between rice cakes and Oreos spent as much time on the wheel to eat Oreos as those rats that chose cocaine, given a choice between a shot of saline and cocaine. Though it was found that these cookies triggered more neurons on the pleasure centre of the brain than drug abuse, these preliminary results are not enough to prove that Oreos are as addictive as cocaine, or even if they are addictive, at all. So, the report presents only a PARTIAL FACT. The claim or deduction that Oreos contain cocaine is absolutely false.
8) Needles Spreading HIV
Several fear-inducing stories about how needles bearing HIV are being placed at gas stations in Florida, movie theatre seats in Dallas, pay-phone booths in Virginia, and similar stories have been fiercely doing the round, promoting that this is some vicious ploy to harm unsuspecting citizens. However, this is nothing but a HOAX, as it has been denied by the police departments of all the places have confirmed that no such case has been reported. There’s neither any reason to panic, nor is it necessary to assume that people will stoop to such a low, in order to be malicious.
9) Party Mehandi Cone with Chemicals
News began to spread about a Mehandi cone named Party Mehndi Red Cone, which, when applied, caused such blisters and infection that a woman was suggested amputation, while another woman died of a skin disease. Apparently, warnings against the use of this Red Cone for henna tattoos was being propagated by Aagha Khan University Hospital. However, no evidence has been found to support the authenticity of such incidents. But, the interest against these cones probably rose because of the cases of skin problems arising from their use. Skin irritations, pain, peeling off, scars, hyper-pigmentation, etc. were reported on PakLinks forum. These problems could be the cause because of para-phenylenediamine that can lead to sensitivity of skin and allergies. So, the story is a MIXTURE OF HOAX AND TRUTH.
10) Tampons Cause Cancer
The news was circulated about how 56 women dies due to carcinogenic chemicals in tampons/sanitary napkins, but, it was never found to be reported or recorded. But, the concern about their use was raised mainly because of the non-disclosure of the ingredients, which are generally thought to be crude oil, plastic and other potentially harmful chemicals, such as dioxin and furan which are carcinogenic by-products of chlorine-bleaching processes used for manufacturing paper products including women’s hygiene products and even diapers. There are also other strong substances like OCDD or HxCDF. Besides, these products also cause skin irritations. So, there might be health issues associated with the use of these feminine products, though nothing has been proved scientifically, and the risks are still being researched. So, this is a MIXTURE OF HOAX AND TRUTH.
It is important to be judicious about whether or not to believe and spread a rumour, simply because it is on the internet. Remember that it could be the work of some attention-seeker or prankster, or someone with a twisted desire to create panic.