Think Before You Post

We talked last week about finding out if something is true before you share it via social media or in an e-mail. I’ve got a great example of why just taking a few seconds to think before you share something keeps falsehoods and hoaxes from spreading. Take a look at this post about the record-setting Powerball Jackpot.

It claimed to have a simple solution for poverty in the U.S. It claimed that if you split the \$1.3 billion Powerball jackpot between the 300 million residents of the U.S., each would get \$4.33 million dollars. This image was shared millions of times on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Clearly before anyone bothered to think about it. If you gave it a closer look, you’d see that the math is all wrong. \$1.3 billion divided by 300 million is \$4.33. That won’t even buy everyone in the country a large latte at Starbucks.

Even without doing the math, you should know that lottery jackpots are made up of the amount of money that’s put in to them by the players. So assuming that every single person in the country bought a ticket, that would mean that they put in an average \$4.33 million each.  That also seems pretty unlikely.

I’m a bit concerned that so many folks don’t seem to know that a billion is a thousand million. I’m concerned that so many people are willing to pass along information without the slightest attempt to verify it.

Does this Powerball post matter? No, not really. But when people pass along health claims, false claims that people have made racist statements, false accusations of criminal activity, false reports of missing children etc… it does hurt.

If you’re old enough to use a phone or PC, you should be old enough to know that just because someone writes something on a photo, it doesn’t make it true. And if you don’t know if it’s true, don’t share it before you verify it.

If you don’t have time to verify, just don’t share. I leave you with this.

~ Cynthia

8 thoughts on “Think Before You Post”

1. Cracker Jack says:

I agree. I am so tired of getting emails etc that are FALSE, HOAX, because people “assume” they are true/factual because they received ithem from a trust-worthy friend. It’s so easy to go online and check them out and get the true facts before sending them on. No wonder our country is in so much trouble due to the hoax emails going around the country and world. Well I’ve blown my stack. Sorry

2. Sandee Dougherty says:

Thanx for the tip about sharing.

Where is a good place to go for verification?

1. Chris says:

3. Fred Jacobs says:

In some European countries, a “Billion” is actually one million millions, and not one thousand millions as in the U.S.
That being said: even with the “million millions” definition, it would give each American \$4,300.

4. Atherworld says:

Everything about this is wrong. There’s at least 350 Million people in the USA. More if you don’t count undocumented. So let’s not. Now, we won’t be giving anyone under 18 this money. They’re just kids. So, without knowing the adult to kid ratio, let’s just split the difference and say half the population is a kid. So that’s 175 million folks. Next, that 1.3 Billion is going to be taxed. So, that takes care of half the money at least. Now we have \$650 Million left. Only if it’s paid out over 29 years. A lump some itself is about half to begin with, pre taxes. So, bye bye 50%. \$325 Million. so \$1.85 (\$1.857, and we have to round down as rounding up gives us a loss of money) per person. Pretend it’s still in the millions (somehow). Oh wait. The winner is gifting you that money. More taxes for the winner. So, figure to gift that money to 175 million people, let’s take off 0.85 million per person). That leaves us with \$1 Million per person eligible for the money. That will not last long for most people. Because people are spendthrifts at heart. We’ve seen this from lottery winners all the time. They go broke after a few years. So even with 1 million per documented adult, poverty will still exist. Figure 1 year at best of no poverty. Then, poverty returns for most people. Will a few people invest wisely? Yes. Will a few people save the money and use it sparingly. Of course. But even in the best case scenario possible, we’d have maybe 25% poverty reduction. Even if we pulled off the ultimate miracle and the Gov refused to collect taxes, that \$4.33 million, again, won’t last all that long. Maybe if we’re really lucky, 5 years before poverty returns. Of course, actual numbers means every documented adult gets a buck. And I just don’t see anybody caring enough to give up all that money so 175 million or so people can get a dollar for free. let alone how to deliver the money? Mail a check? stamps and envelopes eat into winnings. Plus hiring people to help. Maybe the extra money from the \$1.857 million bunch of numbers remaining covers all that. But still. Highly impractical and ultimately pointless. All that for a dollar? Nope. Even for 1 million, not worth it. This assumes everybody’s honest, and nobody claims not to have received their fair share. Which is a whole other headache. In short, even if the math was correct, it still is at best a short term solution, and not really worth bothering with. Even if you could assure practicality and honesty.

1. cynthia says:

Also there would be the legality involved of setting lottery tickets to people with the promise that they would have a chance at a jackpot and then distributing the money instead of holding the drawing.

5. GW says:

This does not surprise me one bit. The passing on of lies and then spewing them out again is rampant in this country. From social media to politics. When did people start believing everything they hear and read and stop thinking for themselves? I’m going to guess it has something to do with the 24 hour “news” networks like Fox. One of the worst things to happen to us as a people and society. So much hate and lying gets passed on without stopping for a minute to ask if this makes any logical sense

6. Cindy Strutz says:

I don’t know how to fact check anything, can you post it as a tip please?

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