And it happened again this morning – somebody tweeting about an article on the “2nd great Depression”. Since I’m interested in the economy I clicked and read. And was ready to jump through the screen and strangle somebody.
As with many forwarded links, it’s ready for the trash can. (Really. It’s so bad I refuse to link to it. If you have to know, here’s a Google link).
It was pretty much clear it was bogus when I read the title: “2nd Great Depression can make you rich as BANK COLLAPSE is just weeks away, says expert”.
The “journalist” posting this garbage goes by the name of Derek Clontz, and he claims he has “News those other journalists don’t DARE print”. Yeah. That has a reason – they fact-check. Here’s how that would work.
First off, anything on the Internet that promises to make you rich is bogus or an outright scam. But assuming the title would’ve actually been decent, there are a couple more things you can do to verify claims.
Check the date
A lot of info is time critical. It’s really embarrassing if you find a prediction that “the economy will collapse in 6 weeks”, you repost it blindly, and it turns out it’s actually an article that’s almost a year old. Granted, in this case it applies only to the re-poster, but please, always look for the expiration date on the can, so to speak.
Check the source
If the article you’re reposting claims to be from an eminent source in the field, you might want to double check if it’s indeed a well-known authority. Google is your friend. The “expert” cited in this article doesn’t show up in either Google or Wikipedia. At least not credibly. That doesn’t automatically discourage information – “unknowns” can have great insights, too – but it’s a warning sign.
Check the Numbers
Really. Do check them, if just as a ballpark.
If somebody predicts that 140 million Americans will be out of work, you might want to engage your critical thinking skills for the slightest moment to figure out that that’s 50% of the entire population. Account for “too young” and “too old”, and suddenly pretty much every adult American is out of work. If you want to get more detailed, dig deeper. In this particular case, the bureau of labor statistics has detailed employment stats. As it turns out, there are only 145 million employed Americans in the civilian labor force.
And if that’s too much work for you – JUST DON’T FORWARD LINKS!