Is this Hoax a Danger to My Grandma?

As we create memes and share hoaxes with our friends and family on the internet, ask yourself this: is this hoax potentially dangerous if my grandma sees it? Will my grandma share fake news on her Facebook feed?

People create internet hoaxes for a variety of reasons. One of the most popular reasons is to influence individuals. It can be for a positive or negative purpose. However, more often than not, it is for the latter. Spreading hoaxes such as fake news can be incredibly harmful in the long run. Fake news hides in the safe and secure blanket of social media, a place where up until a few years ago, only shared organic content between close friends and family.

The tweet below is an example of a hashtag #NoDAPL that was found to be used by fake accounts on Twitter and then picked up by real accounts. Many of the fake accounts published multiple tweets with the #NoDAPL hashtag at nearly the same time, only a few minutes apart.

A harmful effect of fake news is how it intensifies conflict and social issues. It is hard to spot in the clutter of our social feeds and even easier to quickly comment on. As you open your social apps, here are some steps that you can take to identify a credible post.

  1. What is the source? Does it have one? Is it a reputable one? Have you heard of it before?
  2. Read the description of the article (if there is one).
  3. Where do the articles/posts sources come from?

By taking these small steps in your daily online activities, we can prevent hoaxes from gaining traction.

In conclusion, this is the type of content we want our grandmothers to be seeing:

8 thoughts on “Is this Hoax a Danger to My Grandma?

  1. I really like how you related the viral hoaxes to how they can harm older generations– I didn’t think of it like that! I think that’s a great way to evaluate what we post online, and can really help to avoid situations like that Instagram hoax that happened a few months ago.

  2. I immediately connected to your post when you referred to your grandma or someone within the older generation, and them seeing your actions on the various social platforms. My parents always told me, “if you don’t think your grandparents would like to see it, don’t post it!” Your title definitely caught my eye, and made me want to read more. I also really enjoyed your implementation of steps one should take to help identify a credible post. It really broke up the blog post, and provided concise and helpful information.

  3. I really love the approach you took in including older generations in this issue. We often overlook the fact that non-Millennials and non-Gen-Zers dominate a large portion of social media platforms. Because older generations may not have been raised in an internet or social media age, they may not understand the grain of salt with which every single thing on the internet must be taken. It’s important that they stay informed about hoaxes too! I love the humor you incorporated, as well!

  4. Hi Meredith! The title of your blog post was very creative which made me want to read your post. I really enjoyed reading this because you kept connecting everything back with your title. Also, the way you included how to decipher if something is fake news or not is very informational and useful. Everyone should be able to tell if something is fake news or not so lies are not spread around the internet.

  5. Hi Meredith!
    Your posts title definitely caught my eye and made me laugh and your blog definitely carried the same tone which I enjoyed! I really appreciated how you included precautionary measures you can take to identify fraud online. They are so simple but its so easy to fall into the trap!

    PS- Love the wholesome grandma content at the end.

  6. Hey Meredith!

    I loved your take on these ‘viral hoaxes’! I was just with my grandma last weekend and was trying to explain Facebook to her. She couldn’t understand it (which was fine) but it made me worry about how susceptible she is to internet scams and hoaxes.

    I love the steps you laid out to help figure out if a tweet/instagram/facebook post is or isn’t fake news/a hoax/a viral scheme. We so often find ourselves mindlessly scrolling and liking, but we should be paying more attention to the content that comes across our screens every day.


  7. Hey Meredith!
    The title of your blog post really drew me in. I enjoyed the combination of legitimate tips to decipher if news is fake or not with the slight comedic tone!

  8. good take on this question! not many people took time to explain how to identify credible information, which is really relevant when talking about hoaxes

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