TL;DR It's super easy to fake Twitter and Facebook updates to put words in people's mouth. Spreading fake updates makes puppies sad. Try and make puppies happy, not sad.

Fake news starts with twisting the truth, usually just enough to reinforce stereotypes and generate outrage. Why outrage? Outrage grabs our attention and raises the signal to spread a meme and replicate itself much faster than normal. You've heard the phrase, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes" and outrage is the rocket engine powering fake news.

Memes (meems) are more than just some text in Impact font across a funny image. It's an idea that spreads from person to person, creating culture and paradigms as they grow.

You've probably seen screenshots of status updates from Twitter and Facebook stoking outrage the last few months, and I want to share why you should pretty much ignore every screenshot where someone says something outrageous.

Check out this tweet from @Patriots:

Now, here's a screenshot I made using the same Tweet and browser developer tools:
Made up tweet from @Patriots

All the likes and retweets stay in place, and I got to put words in Tom Brady's mouth. To be fair to Tom, I'll do the same thing to one of my tweets too. 😂

I'd never diss Whataburger

If you see a screenshot you think is just too juicy and your lizard brain starts taking over, go back and check the source. Is there a tweet that backs up that screenshot? Have sites you've heard of before today reported on it? If you can answer no to these questions, don't share it.