Thursday, August 23, 2018

Stop This Meme

Here at Bug Eric, I have better things to do with my time than constantly fight wave after wave of misinformation, superstition, and outright hoaxes. The latest is this one purporting that a "new" and "deadly" spider has invaded North America. Utter nonsense!

The spider depicted in the images is the very much harmless Woodlouse Hunter, Dysdera crocata. This spider is originally from the Mediterranean region of Europe, but made its way to North America ages ago, not recently. Yes, it has wicked-looking jaws and fangs, which are used solely to turn over its roly-poly and sowbug prey so that it can inflict a lethal bite on its food, not on human beings. The venom of this spider has not been scientifically proven to be the least bit dangerous to the average, healthy person.

"But, but...." you say, citing the watermark on one of the images in the meme as being from the University of Nebraska. Surely we can trust our institutes of higher learning, right? Yes, but not if their image has been stolen by some malicious individual out for hits on his or her own website. The university should consider filing suit against whoever is using this image. There are laws against copyright infringement, which is what is happening here. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exists to protect our "works" from unscrupulous individuals who seek to profit from our efforts at education and enlightenment.

By sharing this meme, and others like it, without doing due diligence of fact-checking (a quick check on Snopes would have yielded the truth about this one), serves only to perpetuate ignorance at best, and participate in crimes of "fake news" and, in this case, copyright violation. Stop it.

© Jenn Rose #jennrosefx

4 comments:

  1. Snopes, hahahaha. I wouldn't use them to check if the sky was blue. But I have a brain so I have that going for me.

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    1. Then do a reverse image search and find one of millions of hits telling you that it's a louse spider. If you'd rather trust a facebook page that also includes a story of a man getting stabbed by a headless mannequin or warning you against getting pulled over by the Hellcop than a website that shows a slight political bias against a literal criminal, then be my guest, but don't spread this misinformation to anyone else before doing the slightest modicum of research.

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  2. Snopes is actually usually not fake news and is reasonably reliable, in my experience.

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  3. I never read spider stories anyway, inevitably something jumps out at me.

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