“Fact Check on Aisle Online!”

On September 24th, social media was filled with photos of daughters, posted by moms who didn’t want to miss out on Daughters’ Day. But the actual Daughters’ Day was over a month earlier. Once a few old posts showed up, people just assumed the day was “today” and the bandwagon rolled on.

On September 27th (and especially throughout the day on the 28th), photos of the blood moon began to show up on social media. In my area, most the photos were definitely authentic, proven by the cloud cover, but as the hours rolled by, some phenomenal photos of an enormous blood moon hovering to the east of the Western Wall or poised to the west of golden topped Dome of the Rock surfaced and were reposted again and again. Only they weren’t real. They were composite photos. Beautiful works of art? Yes. Accurate depictions? Not of that night or any other night in history to date.

Then, that very same day, came the onslaught of Facebook posts in which users declared “as of [INSERT DATE AND TIME], I do not give Facebook the right to…” [INSERT ALL THE THINGS THAT FACEBOOK HAS A RIGHT TO DO SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU USE THEIR PLATFORM]. No matter how many times people replied to those posts with Snopes articles explaining the hoax, people continued to copy/paste/post “just in case.”

It really doesn’t take long to check a fact. And if we’re not willing to take a deep breath, ask a question, and do a little research, what example of discernment do we set? Sure, we all make mistakes. We all trust the wrong sources at times. Our intentions are well-intended. But let’s determine not to be content with our intentions. Let’s not get so caught up in the waves of social media that we end up carried out to sea.

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