When it comes to the internet and email, are you guilty of passing on the “Poor Man’s Virus”?

The Poor Man’s Virus is spread by people who don’t have the skills to create a real computer virus. So it works on the honor system. When recipients open an “infected” email, it asks them to delete all the files on their hard drives and then pass on the email to everyone in their address books.

The point here is not to tell a joke. Rather, it’s to say we really do have the equivalent of “poor man viruses” going around in the form of mass emails and facebook postings seeking multiplication. The ultimate originators of these virus-like nuisances probably get the same satisfaction the authors of real viruses. Chain-letter “viruses” clutter up the facebook and inboxes, use up disk space, and waste time just like the real thing, particularly when they ask to be forwarded to everyone the recipient knows on pain of a guilty conscience.

Getting to the point, religious people are especially susceptible to feeling guilty if they don’t pass these virus-like communications on to others. The result though is not damage to computers and hard disks. Rather it is the loss of credibility when people get messages or postings promoting things the recipients know or at least suspect are simply not true. So our advice is not to stop passing on other people’s emails altogether, but rather to be more discriminating in doing so. Take the time to check facts before promoting something that may be false. Check out snopes.com, politifact.com, truthorfiction.com, and factcheck.org for example. We think you’ll be surprised at what you find.

— historeo.com

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