A few years ago, loads of people online were talking about a video they’d seen of what chicken McNuggets were supposedly made from.
The meat was not chicken, but something pink and slimy – people were so disgusted by the pictures that they said they’d never ever eat chicken nuggets. I think I believed it, too, but I love McNuggets so much that I kept eating them.
After a while, people forgot about the video and began to eat McNuggets again. A while ago, I watched a video about how chicken McNuggets are actually made – and they are totally made from chicken.
I realised it’s super-easy to post made-up stuff on the internet that anyone – especially those who don’t go online very much – will believe. They’ll say they saw it “all over the internet”, therefore it must be true.
I think if we believe everything we read online, whether it’s on Facebook, YouTube, or any other forum, without asking questions or thinking deeply about it, then we have a big problem.
We need to double-check what we read online, and teach others - like our parents - to question what they read online, too.
From the editor
Thank you for your letter, Tony. It is a sad fact that we live in an age where anyone with a camera can make and publish a movie. I say it’s sad because there is no one to check that what is being made into a “documentary” is correct. Many rely on the shock value of what they are trying to get across.
Who wants to be eating pink slime, right? But what they might not be telling is that the slime is something that is preventing us from getting sick. In fact it is ammonia, a chemical that is mixed with some meat products to keep the level of germs down so that we don’t get food poisoning.
McDonald’s says that they have not used any pink slime in their food since 2011. So it’s not a case of the first video being completely wrong, just not completely truthful.
This is why journalism is so important. Journalists earn your trust and defend you from misinformation, and if we ever make a mistake about something, we’ll let you know.