The Top Information Post website recently published a fearmongering article titled “All European newborn Babies will be Microchipped from May 2014″.
Although the article only consists of 4 short paragraphs, with no source, the story went viral: in 2 days the article was shared almost half a million times on Facebook. Think about the fact not even everyone that believed the story took the trouble to share it. The story, however, is entirely false.
As Snopes reports:
“Neither the European Union nor any individual member country thereof has enacted regulations requiring that as of May 2014, “newborn children will be compelled to take in a subcutaneous RFID chip,” nor has any legitimate news outlet reported on such a story.”
The story itself may have originated as an Italian hoax or satire story. Unfortunately, this story has been picked up by many alternative bloggers and news reporters including Before It’s News, Dr Leonard Coldwell, Worldtruth.tv, Illuminati-News and Rense.com.
The image used by Top Information Post is from an article titled Google: Motorola’s tattoos could replace passwords by The Telegraph.
Hoax-Slayer suggests the article originally came from Nuooz.com, a website that they claim “churns out fictional and fanciful stories in French and English and presents them as news articles.” Wafflesatnoon.com and thatsnonsense.com, have also reported on this hoax story.
The article reminds me of other false stories recently believed by masses such as the article from satire website the Daily Current titled Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalization. So many believed the satire story that news websites such as The Independent reported that “Scores duped by satirical website”.
The conspiracy world was also tricked into believing false reports, supposedly from Edward Snowden, about Chemtrails, HAARP and a “Solar-Flare ‘Killshot’ Cataclysm” by satire website Chronicle.su last year.
On January 20th an article titled “Drugs In Colorado: New Deadly Strain Of Marijuana Turning Users Gay” was published by satire website “The National Report”. Three months ago the same website published a story titled: “The Assam Rape Festival In India Begins This Week”. Both of these stories are still reposted regularly on blogs and via social media.
The reason may be that such stories, although absurd to the well informed, do not create dissoance (essentially an urge to disagree) in more people than most of us would like to believe. People are often looking at these stories through the lens of what they already believe, or have heard, and not with the skepticism the claims deserve.
With so many people believing hoax and satire stories like these, and even spreading these stories along with phrases like “Do your own research”, what can we do to ensure that people know incorrect information when they see it? It may be helpful to integrate critical thinking into new educational models.