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When Google shuts down and Wikipedia crashes will it only be a hoax?

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Social media has been filled with so much misinformation in recent days as people try to sort through fictional stories posing as news.

On Tuesday, The Walmart newsroom felt the need to address a hoax about the story of a woman killing three shoppers at a Chicago WalMart in order to purchase the store's last Xbox.

In a Twitter post the account @WalmartNewsroom directed people to a link that explained the Walmart murder story was purely fictional. The origin of the fictional story was the website The Daily Currant, which describes itself as an online satirical newspaper and clearly states on their website, "stories are purely fictional." The stabbing for an Xbox story has been recycled many times, with the current version tied to Black Friday.

On Monday, PhillyMag.com was setting the record straight regarding a fictitious report that Eagles quarterback Michael Vick had broken both his legs in a car accident.

In the case of the Michael Vick story, the hoax appeared on the Global Associated News website. On a webpage the large bold print reads, "Michael Vick Breaks Both Legs In Car Accident." If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will find in very small print, "this is an entertainment website, and this is a totally fake article based on zero truth and is a complete work of fiction for entertainment purposes!".

Like The Daily Currant, the website Mediamass claims to be an online satirical newspaper. Over the weekend Mediamass was the center of attention, as it ran a fictitious story on a Paul Walker death hoax the day before Walker died.

The bogus websites have been around for years, so has sensationalized journalism. The strange twist of Paul Walker's death, where a fictional story ran head on into a real event, seems to have people paying more attention to the bogus news reports.

Is it really satire?

When we watch a skit on Saturday Night Live, or read Mad Magazine, we have the expectation of satire.

Websites like the ones mentioned here publish purely fictional news strictly for the sake of creating sensational headlines. Is that really satire? Does anyone find this funny?

The truth is out there

Recent hoaxes on the internet should serve as a warning to use a little caution in filtering the information that you see on the internet.

Snopes.com is a well noted website for finding the truth behind urban legends and separating the fiction and facts when it comes to misinformation on the internet.

There are also sites like the Straight Dope that describes itself as "Fighting ignorance since 1973 (it's taking longer than we thought)" and FactCheck.org, which deal primarily with political claims, but serve to set the record straight on misinformation.

The power of the internet

The internet doesn't take sides, it gives birth to both good and evil. The internet is our collective mind, it is our collective soul.

The internet is just a mirror, a reflection. If you don't like what you see in the mirror, what do you do? Some people break the mirror, others change what's being reflected.

Check out, "The Paul Walker death hoax confusion and the power of the internet"

Follow us on social media as we continue our quest in understanding the great power and responsibility of the internet. Look for Tom Peracchio on the net ... The Guru 42 Blog, @Gu42 on Twitter , Guru42 on Google+ or Guru42 on Facebook

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