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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Twitter Dangers You Must Know About

This blogger has long held back his own excitement over the ballooning of the lotto pot here in the Philippines, primarily because it is practically gambling. The temptation of betting 20 Pesos to win 741 Million Pesos has to be tempered, I thought, as I stopped myself from blogging about it.

By 10:00 PM Monday night, I saw a profuse amount of tweets on my twitter stream being tweeted by Philippine Journalists. They were claiming that a certain Miko Morelos was the one who won the 741 Million Peso lottery pot.

Everybody was asking,

"Who in the world is Miko Morelos?"

Yet, very few asked about the credibility of the information.

First and foremost, nobody asked,

"How did Tim Yap know who the winner was?"

Tim Yap is a self proclaimed Socialite/Journalist/Idiot. (Emphasis mine)

Next, nobody asked whether lotto bettors had to put their name on the tickets.

Read about the horror story here.

To cut a long story short, it turns out that:

  • Miko Morelos is a real person
  • Miko Morelos did not bet
  • Miko Morelos did not win the lottery
  • Miko Morelos is now in trouble 
  • Nobody believes that he didn't win the lottery

It's amazing how one tweet from one supposedly "credible" character on twitter could spread false news and information like wildfire.

The damage has been done.

Quote from the Inquirer.net:

"My mother called me up Tuesday afternoon saying the classmates of my sisters appeared to be convinced that I won the jackpot, no matter how much they denied the information.
With the desperate times as indicated by the surge in petty crimes in the streets, I feared for our safety.
I commute to work from our house and the dangers of public transport are as obvious as the color of the sky. My family, likewise, does the same."

It's amazing how despite of all the exhortations of technology, nothing has changed with human nature.

It's amazing how people will believe fallacies just because somebody "authoritative" tweeted something. Even notable journalists that I respect, seem to have fallen for the faux information.

In all the excitement of this new fangled thing called "Social Media" or "New Media", it would be wise to take note that:

  • The rules of logic still applies
  • People are still as they are 5000 years ago - they just have tools like twitter to magnify whatever they are.  
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