Be careful when forwarding inaccurate emails

Holocaust memorial - San Francisco (Credit: flickr user dcleesfo)
I received a forwarded email from a friend I used to work with last week. The subject line didn’t describe the contents so I began to read down through it. It showed images of the Holocaust and quoted Dwight D. Eishenhower. “What the hell is going on here, why would someone forward this”. Then it came to the real meat of the email:

This week, the UK removed The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it ‘offended’ the Muslim population which claims it never occurred.

If this happened I had heard nothing about it so I did what I normally do and I Googled the sentence. Among the results were this article on Snopes.com and another on HoaxSlayer. The content of either article did not suprise me. They’re both calling bullshit on it. The suggestion that UK schools have removed the holocaust is inaccurate to say the least. It seems to have come out of a report outlining how schools were dealing with “emotive and controversial history events”. One school selected not to teach the holocaust and the reports seem to have been exagerated from there.

My problem with the email is this: blatant fearmongering. While certain events in history may be controversial and contested by certain sections of society, they happened. Do I think people claiming that the Holocaust never happened are wrong? Yes but forwarding an inaccurate piece to twenty odd people is irresponsible. I expect more from my friends.

5 Comments

  1. Darren   •  

    Sorry about that! I’ve removed you from my mailing list now! 😛

  2. anthony   •     Author

    @Darren: 🙂

  3. Cormac   •  

    There was also that piece of crap ‘forward’ in Facebook depicting Chinese soldiers as rouge Tibet monks. Ah com’on people, get a clue before you send me crap like this!!

  4. kevintel   •  

    Whenever I get those, I group respond with a de-bunking of the original email, along with a link to http://www.breakthechain.org/

    “Yes, the ‘dying of cancer’ chain-email is a hoax, and it is a good 10 years old. 10 years, people. So is the ‘Get a free phone from Ericsson’ chain email, saving the women of Afghanistan and many others. If it asks you to send it on to any number of other people, you’ll just end up getting spammed sooner or later.”

    I’ve always been amused by the idea of saving peasant women in Afghanistan from oppression by emailing your disapproval to the Taliban. That’s so middle-class. The kid who’s been dying of cancer for a good 10 to 12 years now is another, but people keep falling for it over and over…

  5. Neil T.   •  

    I often do the same as @kevintel – use something like Snopes to debunk the email and re-send it to the other people that the email I received was sent to. I get new Snopes articles in my feed reader and a lot of them recently have been about incorrect or out-of-context Barack Obama quotes, presumably to descredit him.

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