Wednesday, May 24, 2006

This Week, Peggy Calls BS on Some Deeply Annoying Forwards, Specifically The Kind That Make You Believe the Whole World is Populated With Idiots

Perhaps you've already heard of and/or used a website called Snopes.com. Well, more and more I am finding forwards and the general naivete of the public intolerable. Most of you can understand where I'm coming from here. So, today I urge you to join my quest to educate “forwarders”. Now, I know you are not guilty of sending ridiculous forwards; more often the perpetrators are extended family and bizarre co-workers. BUT, you can reduce this vicious crime by informing the sender and all the other recipients of a given forward. Snopes.com is a valuable tool in this process, because the same people who are forwarders” are the same people, luckily, who believe everything they read on the internet, so when opposing views are presented, they'’ll believe the email or website that looks the most legit.

So, what to do? Let's say you get this e-mail, which I was unfortunate enough to receive this weekend:

"Please look at the picture, read what her mother says, then forward his message on.

I am asking you all, begging you to please forward this email on to anyone and everyone you know, PLEASE. Maybe if everyone passes this on, someone will see this child.

That is how the girl from Stevens Point was found by circulation of her picture on tv. The internet circulates even overseas, South America, and Canada etc. Thanks

We have a Deli manager (Acme Markets) from Philadelphia, Pa who has a 13 year old daughter who has been missing for 2 weeks. Keep the picture moving on. With luck on her side she will be found.

My 13 year old girl, Ashley Flores, is missing. She has been missing now for two weeks. It is still not too late. Please help us. If anyone any where knows anything, please contact me at: HelpfindAshleyFlores@yahoo.com I am including a picture of her.

All prayers are appreciated!! It only takes 2 seconds to forward this. If it was your child, you would want all the help you could get."

THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN. Go to snopes.com, and investigate the authenticity of this e-mail. You will find information for most of these crappy forwards, I guarantee. Then, click REPLY ALL, and say:

Hi Everyone,

I went to snopes.com and investigated this e-mail a little forward. Unfortunately, it’s not worth forwarding anymore. See below for more information.

Thanks for stopping this now,

Me

The following is from Snopes.com's profile on this particular email:

"Origins: Most missing child alerts circulated via e-mail fall into one of two categories: genuine reports of missing children that continue to be forwarded long after the child has been found, or hoaxes imploring readers to look for children who aren't missing or don't exist. The above-quoted message bears all the hallmarks of the latter category.

The text of the e-mail (reproduced as we first received it in May 2006) does not include some of the most basic information one would expect to find in a genuine missing child plea: where the young girl (Ashley Flores) went missing, when she went missing, when and where she was last seen, a physical description of her, contact information for her parents, contact information for the local police authorities handling the case, etc. All we're provided with is the ambiguous statement that a "Deli manager from Philadelphia, Pa" has a 13-year-old daughter who has been missing "for two weeks," and even that information seems to have been tacked on to the message by someone other than its originator. It even includes phrases taken word-for-word from previous missing child hoax e-mails, such as Christopher John Mineo and Kelsey Brooke Jones.

Meanwhile, the one piece of identifying information provided in the message, a yahoo.com e-mail address, produces a "no such user" error when mail is sent to it, and a variety of searches through news accounts and law enforcement and missing child web sites, including the site of the Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), fails to turn up any mention of a missing girl named "Ashley Flores."

In the event, it turned out that although the pictured Ashley Flores may be a real girl, her "missing" status was one concocted as a kids' prank. In this case it was a particularly bad and widespread prank, one that left thousands and thousands of concerned citizens attempting to verify the status of a missing girl who wasn't really missing. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Everyone is concerned about this girl," said Athena Ware, spokesperson for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. "We've gotten quite a few of those e-mails here. But it's not an active case in our system."

It's not an active case because it isn't true.

It's a hoax,— pure balderdash, sheer hornswoggle, a regular mountain of malarkey.

There may indeed be an Ashley Flores living in Philadelphia, but nobody has reported her missing to the Philadelphia Police, said Yolanda Dawkins, a department spokesperson.

The FBI hasn't received any notice about young Ashley, either. Neither has the Pennsylvania and New Jersey State Police for that matter.

An Acme spokesperson said that the market had received numerous inquiries and offers of help, but knew of no employee named Flores who had a missing daughter.

In one day alone (19 May 2006), our site registered over 25,000 searches from readers looking for information about Ashley Flores."

Some crappy e-mails will be more obvious than others. It'’s worth looking to check and stopping the myth ASAP. The hardcore forwarders” may be unhappy at first, but too bad, they'’ll learn to appreciate the truth. Maybe.

Anyway, I thought I'd share this website in case anyone else is tired of the stupidity floating around out there about how Microsoft will send you $50 for every person you forward an e-mail to or other nonsense.

5 comments:

blankfist said...

I'm still waiting for my Microsoft check. By my tally, they now owe me a little over a quarter of a million. That's a lot of forwards!

blankfist said...

What? No one else? Eh... Great story, Peggy, I always enjoy your take on things. I love snopes. Good stuff. I enjoy seeing your posts once a week. Thanks.

Hey Crane-dawg, check this beezlebubbness out... booyaa!

http://heeeeeeeeyyeeeeeeeeah.ytmnd.com/

Peter said...

great post peggy, I will forward it to everyone I know.

Brian, when are you gonna address your Dem Boy Gore and all his gas usage to promote a movie asking us not to use gas?

JudgeHolden said...

These news stories about whether Gore walked or drove the short distance from a hotel to the screening are distractions the right is churning out because attacking the messenger is a hell of a lot easier than attacking the message, because the message is getting to be damn near irrefutable. The earth is warming and our cars and our various polluting industries are helping it along.

I haven't seen the movie yet, so I don't know whether Gore tells people they shouldn't use gasoline, but I'll go ahead and doubt it.

blankfist said...

"the message is getting to be damn near irrefutable"

Really? Hmmmm... I'm not so sure, yet.