Why “Copy and Paste” Statuses Make Facebook a Worse Place

You’ve seen them. You’ve probably seen one of them this morning. They are the wonderfully vapid “copy and paste” posts that, while they may seem innocuous and even fun at first, truly only serve to make your social media experience worse for everyone you know.

First, what are we talking about, exactly? A “Copy and Paste” post looks very similar to the picture below and usually has text that read as follows:

If you read this, leave me a GIF comment about your day. Then copy and paste this to your wall so I can leave a GIF for you. Don’t just put a GIF and not copy, that’s no fun. 😜

 

Seems simple and nice enough, right? I mean, you’ve probably even seen or made your own “Copy and Paste” post to honor someone who had cancer or someone who has autism, right? Why would this be a bad thing? Here’s why it is a bad thing.

  1. “Copy and Paste” posts are hoaxes, even if they contain nice sentiments. They are the chain mail emails of the 2010s. Remember how much you hated those things? Well, you should hate these just as much.
  2. Copy and pasting a post makes it much easier for the hoax to continue without being deleted. For example, if a popular Facebook page posts something and then asks many people to share and then it’s determined to be a hoax or fake, then all Facebook has to do is delete the original post. After that happens, all of the subsequent shares and posts are also removed. When a “Copy and Paste” post is shared via copying and pasting it becomes an original post over and over again. It makes tracking down the post nearly impossible and deleting all instances of it totally impossible.
  3. By sharing out innocuous similar posts, such as the ones about honoring those with cancer, etc., you’re getting yourself used to and ready to share a hoax in the future. You’re also grooming those on your friends list to view these types of posts as trustworthy. Then, when an actual hoax post comes along, boom, everyone’s potentially affected.
  4. It’s not real. This reason is subjective, but by sharing these types of “no effort” posts, are you really doing anything to help someone with autism or truly honoring someone with cancer or are you just completing the copy and paste action to feel as though you have done so? Why not share a fundraising event for someone in need or a picture of someone you love who was actually affected?

Being more savvy online doesn’t require a social media degree, it just requires you to wonder a little bit why someone would want to start one of these “Copy and Paste” posts in the first place. Is it to really get something shared or is it to set you up to share something that may be false in the future?