Sunday, February 12, 2017

Did Warren Buffett Really Ask You To Forward His Email? 5 Ways To Know.

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Fake news isn’t a new thing and it isn’t an internet thing. Many of us had our first experience with fake news when we were told about Santa Claus coming to town. That was followed by old wives tales. Stories that were generally told to discourage some type of behavior. Of course there was never proof. This is where, “Because I told you so” comes into play.

Then there was the chain letter. If you broke the chain surely you would receive bad luck. There's also scare mail. You know that email that warns you of dangers like poisonous perfume samples or the fright mail that says if you dodn’t send money somewhere something bad would happen.  

The internet and social media make the spread of fake information more simple, but it has always been there. Let’s take a look at a story that has been making the rounds in social media (Twitter. Facebook.)

Have you seen this one?

Warren Buffett is asking everyone to forward this email to a minimum of 20 people, and to ask each of those to do likewise. In three days, most people in the United States will have the message. This is an idea that should be passed around.
The BUFFETT Rule (The email goes on with a bunch of “facts” and proposes a Congressional Reform Act.)

So, should this be passed on? Numerous people, like those below, thought it was worth a try.
But, was it really worth a try?

No.  Here’s why: If you are going to reach out to others and try to convince them to think or do something, it is your responsibility to determine if what you are asking is true, valid, and feasible.

5 Ways to Know What's True

  1. Send this to everyone you know!
If the communication is urging you to forward this message to all your friends, it is generally a hoax. There are exceptions of course, but this is your first red flag.

2)   Would this person really send a chain mail/communication?
Celebrities, billionaires, politicians don’t generally make it a habit of sending chain mails.  In the case of Warren Buffett’s assistant confirms this here.

3)   Check the source
How can you confirm the source? Check their feeds on Twitter, Facebook, their website. If there is a warning or call to action from someone person, search for the video where they said this. If you’re not finding evidence from the source, then chances are it’s not true.

4)   Fact Checking Sites
There are several fact checking sites. Snopes is probably the most well know. Fact Check and Truth or Fiction are others.  If we take a couple minutes and check the sources, we can see the Buffett story is just a tale.

5)   Check the News
Look for credible news sources coverage of the issue. In the case of the Buffet story here are two sources that uncover the truth.

Innovative educators are in a unique position to help educate young people with strategies to stop perpetuating false information. Empowering students to understand how to tell fact from fiction is a necessary and useful skill to ensure they are on the path to make educated and informed decisions during and on their way to adulthood.

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