Anyone who knows me knows one of my biggest pet peeves is people presenting inaccurate information on the internet. I find it impossible to fathom that someone could have this sort of resource at their disposal and not take thirty seconds to Google something and make sure it isn’t clearly wrong.
Perhaps the most egregious example of this is these “amazing facts” accounts on Twitter. For those of you lucky enough to be unfamiliar with this phenomenon, there are accounts with cute names like “OMGFacts,” “WTFFacts,” “UberFacts,” etc which purport to tweet unusual or amazing facts. This is entirely true, except for one small detail: very few of the things they tweet can be classified as “facts.”
Let’s look at a few examples from the most recent tweets of a couple of these accounts. (Yes, that’s right: I’m just using the most recent tweets.)
@RarestFacts: Gay marriage is legal in ’6′ states. Having sex with a horse is legal in ’23′. Good going America.
Wrong on both counts. Unless we kicked Washington and Maryland out of the Union, same-sex marriage is legal in 8 states. There are much bigger issues with the second claim, however. Zoophilia is not explicitly legal in any state and only 13 states (not 23) don’t have explicit laws against it. And it’s very much worth noting that even in states where there is no specific law against zoophilia, you can easily be prosecuted for animal cruelty. (There are documented cases of this happening.)
@WTFFacts: The word ‘Funky’ actually comes from an african word meaning the sweat you make while having sex.
The word is theorized to come from the Kikongo word “lo-fuki,” which means “bad body odor.”
@RarestFacts: 86% of people start making up scenarios in their heads that most likely will never happen, right before falling asleep.
@WTFFacts: In a survey of middle school American children, 92% were able to name 20 celebrities but failed to name 10 countries
Survey/study claims like these are common on Twitter. After quite a bit of searching, all I can find is these tweets repeated a million times on different accounts. I can find no reference to any such study.
@RarestFacts: Applying Vodka to your face tightens pores and reduces risk of acne breakouts.
Alcohol can appear to alleviate acne (why wouldn’t you just use rubbing alcohol, though?), but it’s actually a really bad idea because it works by drying out your skin and isn’t a long-term solution, and will actually make things worse if used that way.
@RarestFacts: Sleeping in a cold room increases chances of having a nightmare. The colder your room is, the more the chances you’ll have a ‘NIGHTMARE’.
This is actually true, but any physical discomfort increases your chances of a nightmare. Why single out cold?
@RarestFacts: McDonald’s hamburger contains only 15% real beef, while other 85% is meat filler and pink slime cleansed with ammonia which can cause cancer
McDonalds stopped using so-called “pink slime,” and even when they did use it that proportion is dramatically overstated. By law, pink slime could account for only 15% of a McDonalds hamburger, which would actually be the opposite of the proportions “@RarestFacts” indicates.
These are just a few recent examples, but needless to say, every time I see an otherwise intelligence acquaintance retweet these accounts, I involuntarily cringe and open up a search window…