How a false snow forecast spread so fast

How a false snow forecast spread so fast

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Here's a modern day reality check: about a third of all adults under the age of 30 get their news from social media. This week, a false post on a popular weather blogger's Facebook page became a trending story about an impending blizzard. It wasn't true, but it scared a lot of people.

Cold winter weather has already left many New Yorkers feeling a bit raw this year. Maybe that's why so many people believed an internet rumor about a big storm this weekend that might bring 30 inches of snow.

Here is how that rumor started. Someone posted a link to an old article about a big winter storm to Facebook. Apparently they didn't check the date. That big storm threat was last year. Next, the website Gawker mistakenly added the trending Facebook post to its roundup, and the rumor was born.

The Gawker post has more than 800,000 hits. The year-old information spread across the Internet so quickly that even the National Weather Service put out a bulletin informing the public that 30 inches of snow just isn't in the forecast this weekend.

Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist with slate.com and one of the first people to unravel the rumor, said via Skype that people are on edge about when the storm is coming because we've had so many cold outbreaks.

John Cook, the editor of Gawker, tweeted earlier this week that the old article "accidentally got added to a link round-up" after someone else misread the date and it got shared around.

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