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We Can be Too Easily Fooled

Hoax stories are taking over social media, so beware, check your sources … and check yourself.

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The wonderful content providers at MTV have done it again. Or have they?

Known for its so-called reality TV shows, MTV targets an audience full of teens and young adult viewers.

Much like their hit show “16 and Pregnant,” MTV is producing a new reality TV show. Can you guess it?

12 and Pregnant.”

That’s right, as you may have already assumed, this show is about 12-year-old girls dealing with the troubles of becoming a parent.

This. Is. Appalling.

Now before we get too far, I’ll cue you in. This is actually a hoax story from a hoax website, called Empire News.

The site is completely fake but very convincing. So convincing, in fact, that this is where many Facebook rumors originate.

This is just one example of how easy it is to believe things that are not true when presented in a format and medium that we have come to rely on.

I actually started this opinion column believing the MTV rumor was true until it’s fallacious was brought to my attention.

It seems that lately, hoax stories and websites have become somewhat of a trend.

Just last week there was a story bouncing around on my Facebook home page that Miley Cyrus died from a drug overdose.

As untrue as the story was, I still jumped to read the article about her false death.

In this day and age, we have to be extremely careful about what we believe when reading online sources.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of so-called “breaking news” stories that they spread like wild fires. And true or false, if the stories generate hits to someone’s website or blog, they generate revenue for their sources.

This is an important reminder of why we should double check our facts before hitting the “share” button on Facebook or ranting on our blogs.

I say, take everything you read online with a grain of salt. Do your research and understand whether what you are reading is true of false.

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Elizabeth Harris

Elizabeth Harris

Elizabeth Harris is photo editor and journalist for MBU Timeline. Harris is majoring in Communications with minors in Broadcast Media and Public Relations. Born and raised in Orange County, Virginia, Harris moved to St. Louis in the fall of 2013 to attend MBU. Harris enjoys spending her free time reading, doing yoga or anything outdoors.

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About MBU Timeline

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DID YOU KNOW?
   
Here are some interesting facts about MBU Timeline, the student newsmagazine of Missouri Baptist University, in St. Louis:
   
*Our mission statement is: MBU Timeline is the student news network of Missouri Baptist University, a private Christian university that embraces the essential core value of “social change through service and leadership.”
   
*The Bible verse that drives our mission is 2 Timothy 2:15 (Worldwide English Version): “Tell the true message in the right way.”
   
*The WordPress website has been up since late-fall 2013. We average about 3,000 sessions and about 5,000 pageviews per month.
   
*Our stories and galleries get as few as 40 or 50 hits, or as many as 8,000 hits.
   
*We have readers in every state and more than 90 countries around the world. We have several readers in South America, the United Kingdom, India and Australia.
   
*Most of our readers are in Missouri, followed by Illinois, California and Texas.
   
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*We welcome contributors from all walks of MBU life, regardless of your major. Reach out to us on Twitter at: @mbutimeline.