Elgin, Quebec: --The Elgin Research Center (ERC) for the Investigation of Irregular Internet Phenomena announced today that many Internet users are becoming infected by a new virus that causes them to believe without question every groundless story, legend, and dire warning that shows up in their inbox or on their browser. The Gullibility Virus, as it is called, apparently makes people believe and forward copies of silly hoaxes relating to hair shampoos, cleaning products, email viruses, taxes on modems, and stupid get-rich-quick schemes such as"Bill Gates and AOL are giving away FREE MONEY"
"These are not just readers of tabloids or people who buy lottery tickets based on fortune cookie numbers," an Elgin spokesman said. "Most are otherwise normal people, who would laugh at the same stories if told to them by a stranger on a street corner." However, once these same people become infected with the Gullibility Virus, they believe anything they read on the Internet.
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"My immunity to tall tales and bizarre claims is all gone," reported one weeping victim who lives in Elgin. "I believe every warning message and sick child story my friends forward to me, even though most of the messages are anonymous."
Another victim, "Ian" in Huntingdon Quebec, who is now in remission, added, "When I first heard about the horrible dangers of CFL light-bulbs , I just accepted it without question. After all, there were dozens of reports of this on the radio and TV, so I thought the danger must be true." It was a long time, the victim said, before he could stand up at a Hoaxees Anonymous meeting and state, "My name is Ian, and I've been hoaxed!" Now, however, Ian of Huntingdon is spreading the word. "Challenge and check whatever you read," he says.
Internet users are urged to examine themselves! There may be symptoms of this virus, which include the following:
The willingness to believe improbable stories without thinking. The urge to forward multiple copies of such stories to others. A lack of desire to take three minutes to check to see if a story is true.
"Des" of Pointe-Claire, QC. is an example of someone recently infected. He told one reporter, "I read on the Net that the major ingredient in CLR will burn your flesh to the bone and THEN give you Cancer! As well I have stopped using flouride-laden toothpaste! Instead, I scrub my teeth with environmentally-friendly steel wool." When told about the Gullibility Virus, Des said he would stop reading email, so that he would not become infected.
Anyone with symptoms like these is urged to seek help immediately. Our ERC Experts recommend that at the first feelings of gullibility, Internet users should RUSH TO THEIR FAVOURITE SEARCH ENGINE and look up the item tempting them to thoughtless credence. Most hoaxes, legends, and tall tales have been widely discussed and exposed by the Internet community.
Courses in critical thinking are also widely available, and there is online help from many sources, including:
Lastly, as a public service, Internet users can help stamp out the
Gullibility Virus by sending copies of this message to anyone who
forwards them a hoax.
No Quebec Salamanders or newts were hurt during the creation of this website.
However, your results may vary.