When in doubt, search.
Arya’s article from the other day about fact checking brought to mind a website I have often relied on – hoax slayer. Just that very day, I also came across this page / segment titled hoaxposed in ThePrint.
Hoaxes have always plagued humankind. Its nature has changed in the digital age. While its change in nature has resulted in hoaxes spreading wider & faster, slaying hoaxes has also never been easier. All it takes is a one search on the internet to ascertain the veracity of the information. If the information is not available or not carried by any trusted sources, then it's most likely a hoax. Even better, if it actually is a hoax, most likely it will throw up as a link itself mentioning it as a hoax.
I have made use of hoax slayer on numerous occasions to convince people that a text message or mail is actually is a hoax. Just yesterday, I also ended up realising that hoax slayer website is the result of the efforts of one individual.
Hoax-Slayer is owned and operated by Brett Christensen from his home office in Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia. Bundaberg is a small city a few hours drive north of Brisbane and is famous for its rum, ginger beer and sugar cane. Brett founded Hoax-Slayer in 2003. He researches and writes most of the articles published on Hoax-Slayer and manages the day-to-day-running of the site. From the hoax slayer website
Taking a cue from Brett, each of us can also do our bit towards the phenomenon and social menace of hoaxes. Each time we come across questionable information or appeals to forward information, we can commit to take out a moment to do a search & verify. Should it turn out to be a hoax, we could also share back the hoax slaying information. Both these actions, together and individually, can contribute to curbing the propagation of hoaxes. Armed with the sword that is the internet, each of us can be hoax slayers ourselves.