No, Russia Did Not Kill the Guy Who Messed up the Olympic Rings: How to Avoid Being Duped Online

Did you hear that the man responsible for the Olympic ring malfunction at the opening ceremony was found stabbed to death?

Haha, fooled you! It’s just an Internet “joke” by The Daily Currant.

Over the weekend, this clumsy-satire-turned-hoax was perpetuated on the American public, many of whom quickly posted it online with comments about Russian corruption. To prevent yourself from being duped like this, heed these three simple tips:

1. Read the story

Apparently, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will click through to the rest. A quick skim of this story—which includes lines such as “Although his body was badly mangled and the wounds were consistent with a struggle, so far officials say they don’t suspect foul play.”— reveals something is fishy. So if a post seems extraordinary, you know, read it.

2. Know your satire sources

Most people are aware of the awesomeness that is The Onion, which incidentally does a pretty great job using overtly comical headlines to clue people in on the satire. Other sites to have on your “you can’t fool me!” radar include The Dandy Goat and NewsBiscuit. On a related note: Never trust sites with names like “The Dandy Goat” and “NewsBiscuit.”

3. Try not to be xenophobic/racist/etc.

Unfortunately, people tend to believe satire that taps into existing prejudices, whether it be the abortion-loving nature of Planned Parenthood or Obama’s anti-Jesus sentiments (Click here for these and other egregious examples and prepare to waste your day away.)* In the case of The Daily Currant post, automatically believing Russia could slaughter a guy for making a mistake requires some amount of existing xenophobia. Try to stop being like this.

*Unless this site is itself a satire. Gah!

Image: stiatric/Flickr

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