What's real or true isn't as easy to recognize as you might think. Nearly anyone that has the ability to sound like an authority on a particular topic can make what they say sound like facts.
What's worse, is how that information continues to be spread by others believing it to be true without doing a basic check before retweeting, posting, and sharing that same misinformation.
Case in point - the standing broom!
My own sons came home from school Monday to tell me that today was the only day of the year that you can make a broom stand on its own.
"Did you talk about this in class?' I asked. "No, we saw it on TikTok," they answered. "Something about gravity,"
So without any looking into this amazing scientific discovery, they took pictures of our broom standing on its own and shared it. Soon their friends were doing the same on Snap Chat and TikTok, each saying something even less factual than the other, all the while spreading the misconception that the gravitational pull from the moon was causing this phenomenon.
However, a quick internet search revealed this astounding feat was also possible on Spring and Fall Equinox, Summer Solstice, Halloween, and apparently any random day you decide to try it. It seems a broom's center of gravity is the handle and the bristles spread enough to make it stand - not because of tidal pulls, the path of the Earth, or use of the Force.
The point is we must teach our students to question stories they see and read online, especially in social media. Doing a little background research, even it's only from a few extra sources will help eliminate the spread of misinformation. After all, isn't it better to disprove something that is wrong, then let everyone know you fell for the hoax as well?