We’ve talked before about how sharing just anything you see on Facebook without bothering to verify it can be harmful. You can damage someone’s reputation or expose friends to malware and scammers.

There was a recent incident that really drives home how easy it is for this to happen. It started with this post. The post is from a fake news site called World Daily News Report that puts up click-bait to lure people in. It claimed that a Detroit woman had broken was now in the Guinness World Records for having 14 children with 14 different men. It claimed that the 30-year-old woman in the photo was extremely proud of breaking the record. The picture below was featured.

mom-of-14-hoax

The photo is actually of a young couple from Connecticut in their early 20s at the hospital with their first child. It was published in a local newspaper because their baby was the first baby born in 2015.

The poor woman first learned about this hoax when it was posted to her Facebook page. The article also claimed that group of children pictured were the woman’s other offspring visiting her in the hospital.

mom-of-14-hoax-kids

That photo is actually a stock photo of kids Photoshopped over a hospital background.

stock-photo-kids-istock

The woman and her family were, of course, horrified. This hoax was shared tens of thousands of times and seen by millions of people.

Common sense might tell you that while having 14 kids with 14 men might be the topic of some talk shows, it’s not likely a topic for the Guinness World Records folks. One look at that collection of kids might also tell you that they’re models in a stock photo, becauseĀ  who the heck stands around like that?

But for all of you who think, ‘what can it hurt to share it even if it is fake?’, this is the answer. There might be a young couple somewhere who have a photo of of one of the happiest days of their life tarnished by liars and the people who are easily duped by them.

The young woman has contacted a lawyer, but it’s not clear if she has any legal recourse.

Think twice before you share.

~ Cynthia