Remember the adage that not everything you read is true? Well, there is more of that on the Internet than you think.

Humans have a tendency to lend their ears sympathetically to good causes, and that is why we sometimes fall prey to seemingly sob stories that demand not only our tears, but also (and especially) our hard-earned money. Indifference is not the solution, but discernment is.

The mainstream media is not always what it wants us to believe. There are many instances of missteps in its news, whether it be honest mistakes, lousy fact checking, or even, unfortunately, sheer propaganda. If you read the news from a certain West, you can see its news slant gravitating towards bashing the East. It is politics exerting pressure on the news folks, or perhaps the news folks themselves being sympathetic to the political slant of the policy and office holders. Again, indifference is not the solution, but discernment and a deeper investigation are. We cannot be indifferent to the world we live in, as we need to know what is illusion, and what is reality.

Sometimes, on the so-called April Fools’ Day, we do see people playing meaningless pranks on people, including news media publishing totally fake “news” to amuse themselves at the expense of readers or audiences.

But what happens when it is not April 1, but any other day? Then there is no real reason to use the sanctity of public media but mere amusement at the expense of others.

There was a news website talking about “invisible art“, and what happened when the readers online exposed that the image had been doctored from a stock image. Of course, it may have been a mere joke, but undiscerning readers may have been misled if they merely skimmed through the news, believed it, and worse, shared it to their friends online – thereby propagating this joke even more. Not many would investigate further. And the trouble is that SEO (search engine optimization) of the likes of Google lends more gravitas to bigger and more established websites, which means it can really travel far and wide on the Internet, compared to personal blogs and rants.

As the famous quotes from the fictional series X-Files went, “trust no one”, and “the truth is out there”. Enjoy your lifelong investigative research.