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How to Combat Internet Misinformation

November 08, 2002

In "One Less Thing to Fret Over" (editorial, Nov. 4), you point out the continuing dissemination of that Internet urban-legend e-mail that continues to spread the ridiculous fear that deodorant and antiperspirant use causes cancer. This is just one of thousands of examples of Internet misinformation. The Internet is full of these apocryphal myths and untruths. They are continually passed on by well-intentioned folks who are themselves probably interested in truth but who neglect to use any of the easily accessed sources to verify or discount these stories before they pass them on themselves.

There are three Web sites that can easily be used for verifying stories: www.truthorfiction .com, www.snopes2.com or www .hoaxbusters.org. Each of these sites provides search engines that are easy to use. Entering a couple of key words from the e-mail in question will usually bring up all the information one needs to determine whether there is any truth in the story and whether it should be passed on or trashed. If everyone out there simply took the three or four minutes required to check out these things before passing them on, the Internet might actually become the reliable source of information that it could be -- instead of the quagmire of lies and misinformation that it is today.

Steve Gaghagen

Big Bear Lake

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