Anyone with a Facebook account and some common sense can tell you that the Internet is a breeding ground for misinformation. Much of this incorrect information is actually about the Internet itself. These myths range from the ridiculous to the downright dangerous. Here is a look at some of the most common myths about the Internet.
Wikipedia is Full of Lies
It is important to question everything you read. Information is easily manipulated by people who are trying to promote an agenda. However, skepticism is often applied with a disproportionate amount of aggression towards Wikipedia due to a misunderstanding of how it actually works. Although it is true that anybody can edit Wikipedia, new edits generally face a rigorous review process. Vandalism and poorly cited statements are quickly deleted. Although incorrect information sometimes falls through the cracks, the notion that Wikipedia is generally full of lies is misguided. If you read anything on Wikipedia that raises your eyebrow, you can always check the cited sources on an entry to verify the veracity of the claims.
Al Gore Invented the Internet
The story that Al Gore claimed to invent the Internet was a popular tale among his detractors during his presidential campaign. However, this piece of folklore is due to a widely misinterpreted fact. Al Gore was no computer engineer, nor did he ever claim to be. However, he did state that he took part in the legislation of initiatives involved in the creation of the Internet. This claim is verified by many individuals tied to the early days of the Internet such as Vinton Cerf, who referred to Gore as the first politician to support the development of the Internet.
Your ISP Watches Your Every Move
Every move you make on the Internet goes through your ISP's systems. It is completely within their power to watch every single thing you do, including anything embarrassing or incriminating. However, the manpower to track every move that every single person makes would be far too expensive for any company to maintain, especially since there is little financial incentive to do so. However, if you are suspected in a criminal case, your ISP will be more than happy to work alongside law enforcement.
The Internet is Full of Sexual Predators
Shows such as To Catch a Predator have stoked society's fears about allowing children to use the Internet. Although it is very important to supervise children who use the Internet and teach them about safe Internet use, the online sexual predator scare is overblown. There has not been any statistically significant increase in child abuse since the introduction of the Internet. Furthermore, most cases of child molestation involve adults who are closely tied to the child's family. Safety is important, but children shouldn't be afraid to use the Internet.
For many people, the Internet is a confusing place filled with convincing half-truths and misinformation. In order to avoid falling prey to common Internet myths, it is important to think critically about anything you read online.