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Chains

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By swiper
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Did you know that if you’re being forced to withdraw money from ATM at gunpoint, you can inform the police by entering your pin in reverse?
How about Bill Gates sharing his fortune and you can be a beneficiary if you choose to forward a certain mail? All of these seemingly unrelated examples are: appealing, interesting and informative; But the biggest connection is: Source of all of these are chain-mails and at the same time each of them is incorrect.

• Toastmasters and Guests I stand before you today to urge you to break-the-chain, to stop being part of chain-mails, Well, not all chain-mails are bad. My grudge is against the mails that seek to lure or threaten the recipient into forcefully continuing the chain: the ones, which are meant to spread hatred, superstitions or misinformation or simply to continue the chain. In 2002 there was a horror film named The Ring, it depicted a video of a white ring, a person who saw the video will receive a phone call from a little girl saying they will die in 7 days, that one movie created a chain depicting the video, posing as an email with an promotional video for Feed The Children. In Whatsapp and BBM, you get a message from someone you admire, your heart starts racing thinking about what she has to say to you, is she accepting your offer for dinner at Lucianos?? but you immediately are disappointed when you found out its only the notorious chain of Blackberry or Whatsapp is shutting down or its going to cost you money, forward to 10 either contacts so your account can remain free. Yes, the headaches of chains are even in social media for example on facebook a photo of Jesus and The Devil with the heading “Share this photo if and you want to go to heaven, scroll down and ignore and you will go to hell...Really? sharing a photo will decide my faith?? This juncture, many of you may be feeling what harm an innocuous forwarded chain can do even if it’s factually incorrect? This is what many of my friends argue. But believe me it’s more dangerous than it looks.

To start with, it can make you look like an idiot. For example, I got a mail from one of my email contacts asking me to make a wish while scrolling down forward it to 10 guys and then press F6 five times. The mail claimed that after this, my wish will be granted. Such sha-poopy coming from a software engineer!! And gullibility for actually checking my Commonwealth Bank Account after making the wish. That was the last straw with me and chained emails

Many of us, who normally do not forward unsolicited mails, often give in to the emotional appeals and consider our job to the society done after forwarding such mails. I believe that most of us must have at some time received a mail regarding Red-Cross donating a cent for a cancer-struck child or for some 9/11 victim. Or how about when an imposter claiming to be our very own TM J.C. Sweeting asking for money to be wired to him while he was on vacation in another country!! What we don’t realize is that we’re in fact causing more harm to the reputation and work of such organizations and persons by forwarding unverified information about them. And then, they need to spend hundreds of man-hours for refuting the contents of the mail.

To and even more serious effect, often the original context of the mail is often lost in a chain and if some legal issue crops up and the mail is traced back to you, then you can be considered the author of that mail. Are you prepared to take that risk? Let us take a hypothetical look at Joe, working for Sony who gets a hoax-mail regarding a new virus attacking Playstation 3 online gaming. Joe forwards it to some of his friends thinking what’s wrong with being cautious. His friends forward it claiming “This comes from one of my friends, who is working for Sony.” It won’t take more than two-three steps of the chain for that to become “This comes from officially from Sony” Very soon, Sony is contacted for verification and when they trace the mail to their own employee, do you think it’s going to be easy for Joe Monday morning at the board meeting?. I’ve read about employees losing their jobs on similar grounds.
Things can get worse for people who fall for such imaginary ideas. Think what can happen if you try the ATM trick and the tech-savvy robber gets to know that you were actually trying to inform the police. Now that I believe I’ve managed to convince you against the dangers that this menace poses, here are some ideas to counter it

The minimum we can do is not to be the source of any such message. A 2-minute search can reveal if its real or not. There’re sites like Break-the-chain and Hoax-slayer dedicated to the cause and they’ll give you scientific reasons why the particular message is hoax. But don’t stop at just ignoring the mail. If you’re able to establish the fakeness of the mail, do attack the source. Reply to the sender, mention the links and request him to write a damage control mail to recipients of this mail as well as the person from whom he got the mail. I know this may create a kind of reverse-chain, but this surely is worth it.
Further if you really like to forward something, ask yourself if you’re ready to be identified as the original source of message. Such simple steps and you’ve done your bit against this menace.
Dear Toastmasters, the e-mail is one of the best things to have happened to mankind in the field of communication. Let’s be responsible users and not abuse this great communication tool. We just need to use some common sense and follow some simple steps to Break-the-chain every time we encounter one!!

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