I have a personal Facebook account, I have thousands of friends, but they are not my source of information about the world. As they are my friends, I try not to make myself susceptible to the phenomenon prevalent in urban legends known as “Friend of a Friend” (FOAF). It is not my friends’ fault by any means when information they pass on through their notes or Status Update cannot be substantiated or independently confirmed. Rather, the information they pass could be, at best, incomplete or, at worst, inaccurate. When an event takes place that may interest the world (e.g., the death of Michael Jackson), for my peace of mind, I go to Associated Press, Reuters, and UPI in order acquire a “best average” of the news coverage. On the other hand, when information I receive fits the structure of an urban legend, I immediately go to Snopes to confirm or debunk the information. I’d rather turn to news sources to find out for myself what to know, and turn to my friends to discuss what they think.
Do you immediately take information from your friends at face value or do you verify what you hear?