Wednesday, June 25, 2014

WTF Wednesday: Viral Hoaxes Suck

Inklingers, I'm tired; tired of having my heartstrings ferociously tugged on, then released into the wind with the word hoax. Then anger sets in, and doubt, and then people wonder why I'm such a jaded person who doesn't believe anything I read on the internet at all.
Pic Courtesy

A week or so ago, a news story erupted about how a 3 year old child who had been viciously attacked by a dog was asked to leave a KFC because her face was "disrupting [the] customers." I read the reports, my heart felt for this child, but something in the back of my skeptic mind started screaming.

In this day and age, with social media as it is, how quickly things go viral, and how quickly people sue after things go viral, how would an employee anywhere be dumb enough to ask a person with a physical disfigurement to leave a public place? That's a lawsuit, and worldwide embarrassment, waiting to happen.

But the child? The child, my heart bled for. The pictures were obviously not photoshopped, and no matter what happened or didn't happen, that child had a lifetime of surgeries and rehabilitation ahead of her.

Then the unspeakable happened- a few days ago, it was released that the KFC incident was a hoax, brewed up by the family to gain money from sympathizers and KFC. The family swears it isn't a hoax, but as there is no video surveillance of them entering any KFC in that area, nor is there any record of their purchase, it seems like the family pulled one over on the entire world.

KFC still agreed to donate $30,000 to the girl's surgery fund. Way to go, KFC.

Now I'm pissed... and tired. The whole KFC hoax does not change the fact that this child was disfigured in a
dog attack... it doesn't. And now the child has the money needed for her surgeries, which is awesome, but at what cost did this come? The parents (grandparents, whoever) are horrible people for making up a lie and using their daughter's disfigurement to gain money... horrible in my eyes. This beautiful child, 3 years old, has no idea what is going on, or what her family did to her- they exposed her to the entire world, to get money out of strangers and a fast food franchise, all based on a lie!!

With the hundreds of websites out there that allow people to plead their case to raise money from strangers, the little girl's story would have gone viral anyway- without lying. She would have had people donate money for her facial surgeries, and it wouldn't have come under false pretenses. The fact that the family made up this story to, in a way, cement their viral status, disgusts me. I feel like I was heartstring-raped.

I got into a very lively discussion recently in an online forum when a woman claimed she was wrongly treated at a local store and everyone on the group became angry and suggested we all ban together to get the employee fired from her job. I was the only person who said, "Hold on. None of us were there. We don't know exactly what happened, and now all of you want to get a woman fired from her job, based on one person's story?" Oh, good grief, the wrath I incurred by posting that. I was called cold-hearted, told I needed to be more sympathetic to people, and somewhere in there I was called a racist- shit got out of hand pretty quickly.

But it's stories like this KFC hoax that have made me such a jaded person in my life. I'm tired of hearing something, having my heartstrings tugged at, just to find out it was all bullshit to begin with.

Edgar Allan Poe said it best:

“Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear.”

I completely believe this quote, and live by it. Does that make me a cruel, cold-hearted person? To some people, it does. I hardly ever believe everything that comes out of people's mouths, and if the story is super-sensational, I tend to not believe it at all.

That's what sucks so much about the technology and way of life today. People can make one statement, or take one picture, and it can go viral in 2.5 seconds, either making them and instant hero, or ruining their life forever. Dishonest people can spin a story so outrageous that people immediately want to get involved, just to find out it was all based on lies. Horrible parents can pimp their kids out to the world to make a quick buck, then hide away forever, and we'll forget about it as soon as the next big thing (lie) comes along.

My heart truly goes out to the 3 year old child. But her family can kiss my ass. Seriously.

Definitely my biggest WTF moment of the week.


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