internet hoaxes and twitter gullibility

Alexia Tsotsis on Techcrunch recently posted an article about how “If something on Twitter seems too bad to be true, it probably is”, claiming that as an internet audience, we are becoming more and more gullible. In some senses I can see the point the article is making, in that the more information the Internet throws at us, the more we are exposed to images and videos of extremes. An ongoing focus point of Internet entertainment seems to be examples of remarkable stupidity, with videos such as Miss South Carolina answering a question on Teen USA becoming viral. Hilarious.

Yet I also question this side-show like fascination and its apparent evidence of our gullibility. Re-tweeting something that one finds interesting, or worthwhile to check out doesn’t mean that one has guaranteed its viability. Users of Twitter are hardly likely to closely scrutinize all the links they retweet for validity. I came across the supposed eHarmony video of a girl crying about how much she loves cats because they were posted on Facebook a couple of times by more than one friend of mine, but I was skeptical. So I checked out the Youtube account of the creator, and she only had one other video which was clearly for humorous/entertainment purposes so I dismissed it as a spoof of some sort. And when things like this are so easy to track down, hoaxes rarely stay secret for long.

Remember lonelygirl15?