Holiday mission of truthiness: Install LazyTruth Gmail filter and instantly fact-check those family emails
Untrue or exaggerated chain emails from family members who can’t or won’t do a simple Google search for the truth isn’t new, but with the holidays in the air, and people communicating more this time of year with relatives, you may be getting more of them than normal. So if you have Gmail, but especially if you end up “fixing computer problems” (ie, “My computer is slow because of all these trojans), you might take the opportunity to add LazyTruth to a relative’s Gmail account.
It’s a small thing, but it might just help someone see the bullshit in the emails they’re forwarding to everyone they know.
Matt Stempeck of the MIT Media Lab created LazyTruth, a “Gmail gadget that surfaces verified debunks when you receive a chain email.” He says:
Each year, we gather around the table with large branches of our family tree. As the night wears on, family updates give way to dramatic retellings of the bizarre email chains you’ve been forwarded all year. This year, as part of your IT duties, consider inoculating the family machines with LazyTruth. The Chrome extension works right within Gmail to provide summarized debunks of common viral emails. You get fewer forwarded emails, and MIT researchers get to learn how this stuff spreads in the first place.
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