Your Stories: Think before you click on ‘catchy’ headlines

Your Stories

If you’re scrolling Facebook and see a post announcing your friend just won $2 million, it may be very likely you will click on it or leave a comment of congratulations.

Syracuse University Information Studies professor Jennifer Stromer-Galley says that “curiosity” is simply a part of our “human nature.”

Stromer-Galley says “click bait” has been around since email was invented back in 1973. She says it has come in many versions including dangerous links that lead to viruses or being scammed out of money.

A well-known Cenral New York animal advocate Siggy Brzostowski says he’s been noticing a lot of click bait in his social media feeds.

“People are ending friendships over some of these bogus political articles on Facebook,” Brzostowski said.

Brzostowski says he has many Facebook friends and he uses the platform to share a lot of animal rescue posts, but this time around, he wanted to test something out. What would happen if he posted a fake article on Facebook?

Brzostowski’s “fake article” had a headline reading, “Syracuse man wins $2,000,000 scratch off,” and since it’s been posted it has been shared thousands and thousands of times, and counting. Using a site that generates fake articles, Brzostowski was able to generate a post within a few minutes.

Although Brzostowski’s closest friends knows he likes to joke around, many people congratulated him in hopes the article was true,

Stromer-Galley says our human nature also maintains an instinct to stay hopeful, so when you’re browsing social media and see something good may have happened to a friend, it’s more likely we “want to believe” the good news before checking out if it really is true.

While Brzostowski’s article was “all in good fun,” Stromer-Galley says everyone should be extra cautious when clicking on questionable links to avoid viruses or signing up for something unexpected.

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