Please stop sharing those Facebook posts: You’re not going to win those plane tickets and you’re ruining the internet.

You’ve seen them on Facebook.

Somebody shares a post from a Facebook page titled ‘Cathay.Pacific’ or ‘BMWMotors’ that promises to give away prizes, like free business class plane tickets or a Whatever Class car.

All you have to do is share the post, like the page and comment below with some random letter or number.

They look like this.

Or this.

They’re obviously fake. Yet people share them, all the time.

Please. Stop it.

I mean, I get it. The possibility of winning free stuff tantalises us all — hell, people will do crazy stuff for a free sandwich.

But by sharing these posts you are ruining the internet. Why?

Because of misinformation. If your Internet Citizenship is defined by a willingness to re-share whatever post you come across, without spending an ounce of effort to think critically about what you’re sharing then you weaken the integrity of the Internet itself.

Lackadaisical sharing of information and opinion in an absence of common sense or critical analysis damages us all. That’s why large groups of people believe vaccines cause autism because of one lazy, malevolent paper.

The parroting of misinformation is the root of racism, sexism and many of society’s evils. The digital age has just made it all that easier.

No, re-sharing that post about plane tickets from a fake Virgin Airlines account isn’t going to cause the apocalypse. But it is a symptom of a lazy attitude toward critical thinking.

You’re human. You’re designed to think critically — you have a jelly supercomputer that lives in your skull designed for just that task.

You’re better than autonomously clicking the re-share button on any old post, you’re better than clucking your tongue and nodding in agreement when a man stands for President of the United States and labels a whole race of people rapists or terrorists.

And as a human, you owe it to others to think before you repeat.

Also, share this post and I’ll give you two business class tickets.

Twitter: @williamcstubbs


Aspiring: Gentleman polymath.