Whether out of ignorance or malice, people will spread false information on the internet as freely as an artist spreads paint. This spreading of misinformation has lead to serious consequences, yes even people dying. Any way you look at it, this is a problem that needs to be addressed.
One of the most popular pieces of misinformation spread far and wide is that the great wall is visible from space. NASA said “The Great Wall of China, frequently billed as the only man-made object visible from space, generally isn't, at least to the unaided eye in low Earth orbit. It certainly isn't visible from the Moon.” Misinformation such as this is generally not that harmful, but its still a lie. And lying isn’t a good thing.
Something that could cause backlash to real people, is the example of what happened with Rami Malek. Malek played the fictional pharaoh Ahkmenrah in the movie Night At The Museum 2. Certain people claimed this was a problem, as they thought Malek was white. Or they knew he wasn’t white and just wanted to start drama. In reality Malek is of actual Egyptian descent.
Recently there has been a fad going around on Tumblr, a social media website popular with artists, where they will put uncooked spaghetti into the pen tip slots for their electronic tablets. They do work as intended, but spaghetti being a noodle and a wheat product, means that it leaves microscratches on the screens and surfaces of these digital drawing tablets. This can leave dead zones where the pen doesn’t work at all, and dead pixels that never display any color. This little mistake can leave already broke artist having to pay several hundred dollars for a new tablet. While the people who originally brought it up meant well, its still a problem that can result in terrible consequences.
When I was but 11-years-old I followed a science channel on YouTube, and they told you how to perform cool experiments at home. Of course they said to always be safe, but usually didn’t tell you what the dangerous part of an experiment was. For one experiment, they showed us how to boil water using ice. For this you have to pour water into something, boil it, seal it, then put ice on it. The rapid changing temperature will cause the pressure inside the container to change and drop the boiling point of the water. They used a glass bottle in the video, and didn’t tell you to let it cool at all. Now when glass undergoes temperature change too fast, it shatters. I did not know this at the time. So I poured water into an empty glass soda bottle, boiled it on the stove, tightened the twist on cap back in place, and pressed a piece of ice to it. Of course, the bottle shattered. Glass flew everywhere, embedding itself in my hand, neck, and face. Thankfully nothing went too deep, but I did have to spend two hours having my dad pull glass out of my skin while my mom cried.
Now, there is a notorious website called 4Chan. These next two examples will be from there. I do not have personal experience with this example, but a trustworthy friend who wished to remain anonymous told me about this. There exists a thing, where someone will post a picture of a sink on 4Chan. The sink, is the thumbnail picture for a file package. So people will only see the sink until they save the picture. Upon downloading it, they will discover their computer has been infected with child porn. Obviously this can lead to jail time for someone who just wanted a picture of a sink. For whatever reason.
Lastly, the spreading of false information can lead to people's literal death. One briefly popular trend that came from 4Chan was to tell people that they can make diamonds at home by mixing grass, bleach, and ammonia. Instead, this makes a highly toxic gas that will most definitely kill you if you inhale it. People would think the obvious solution to the hazards that come from 4Chan would to be just avoiding that website. However, people on that website will go to other websites, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc, and spread these fatal lies. And to anyone who doesn’t know any better, it sounds like a great idea.
In conclusion, people need to research information before they spread it. The result could end in anything from an inconvenience, to being unable to support yourself, to getting hurt, or to death. Google has implemented a feature where you can highlight something in Google Chrome, right click on it, and do a Google search for it.
Dunbar, Brian. "China's Wall Less Great in View from Space." NASA. NASA, 30 Nov. 2007. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.