The other day I was perusing Youtube and I came across this video called The Eyeball Collector:
It says in capital letters, TRUE CRIME CASE, so I was taken in for a split second. But, as I’ve written in a recent blog entry, I am a bit of a sick puppy, so surely in all my twisted web searches I’d have come across a little girl who likes to collect eyeballs. I mean, how could I have missed that? So I did a Google search, and sure enough, the ONLY hit is for this guy’s video. And not a thing on Wikipedia, either.
I decided to look into this guy’s list of other videos. A lot of “TRUE CRIME CASES” popped up. These included “The Killer Santa”, “The Spam Murders”, “The Sofa Corpse”, and “The Lesbian Bride Murder”. Actually, they’re worth a peek, because once you figure out they’re bogus, they’re kind of fun to watch. The guy’s got the kind of warped imagination that appeals to me. But what disturbs me are the comments. People actually fall for this stuff! They think they’re true. He could have advertised them as jokes, and I’d still have watched them, and I would have had much more respect for him.
The thing is, this is becoming more and more of a trend. It’s so easy to communicate with the world these days that people with questionable integrity are taking advantage of it. We saw that, in particular, with Hurricane Sandy. Some bozo decided to tell the world that the New York Stock Exchange was under 3 feet of water, and that spread quickly through Facebook and Twitter, and before all was said and done, it was even reported on CNN. If it had been true, it could have had worldwide financial implications, so spreading that kind of bs is, at best, irresponsible.
I have even found myself unintentionally participating in the misinformation movement. I once posted a link to Sokoblovsky Farms on my Facebook page. For the uninitiated, this was a really cute prank web page for a supposed miniature giraffe farm. It even had a “live” webcam of its “petite lap giraffes”.
I thought it was cute and funny, but I never in a million years expected that people would BELIEVE that there are actually miniature giraffes out there. Within 24 hours, half my friends list was desperately searching for a way to own one! Good grief. I had to explain, and then I felt horrible about disappointing them. It kind of makes you wonder about the gullibility of the internet viewing public. Now if you do a search of Sokoblovsky Farms, what you find is a lot of links to people asking “Does this place really exist?” So sad.
There are generations of adults now who have lived with the internet their whole lives. I fear that that will engender in them an unhealthy level of trust in this type of media. It takes a lot of effort to double check every fact you come across, but please, at the very least, go to www.snopes.com or www.factcheck.org before spreading misinformation. Not a week goes by without my receiving some hysterical, cautionary and FALSE e-mail in my inbox, which I am able to debunk through Snopes in a matter of seconds, but when I point this out to the sender, I rarely see them sending out a follow up e-mail that says, “oops…”.
Misinformation is easy to spread. I’d like to think most of it is unintentional. But it has to originate somewhere. If you’re an originator, thanks for the laughs, but SHAME on you.