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Marijuana Contains “Alien DNA” From Outside Of Our Solar System, NASA Confirms

By Tom Hale

It’s big news, set to shock, amaze, and entertain the world.

But unfortunately, it’s got nothing to do with extraterrestrial stoners melding with Earth’s plants.

However, since you’re now reading, you’ll almost certainly be interested in this research that looked into the clicking and sharing behaviors of social media users reading content (or not) and then sharing it on social media.

We here at IFLS noticed long ago that many of our followers will happily like, share and offer an opinion on an article – all without ever reading it. We’re not the only ones to notice this. Last April, NPR shared an article on their Facebook page which asked “Why doesn’t America read anymore?”. The joke, of course, is that there was no article. They waited to see if their followers would weigh in with an opinion without clicking the link, and they weren’t disappointed.

Screenshot courtesy of Gawker

We’ve been hoping for a chance to try it ourselves, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Yackler had some fun with the same article and managed to fool a bunch of people.

A group of computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute looked into a dataset of over 2.8 million online news articles that were shared via Twitter. The study found that up to 59 percent of links shared on Twitter have never actually been clicked by that person’s followers, s uggesting that social media users are more into sharing content than actually clicking on and reading it.

It’s big news, set to shock the world of science and society at large.

Does Marijuana Contain “Alien DNA” from Outside Our Solar System?

An article’s factually ridiculous headline attempted to demonstrate people’s proclivity to share articles without reading them.

  • Published 23 July 2018

Claim

NASA has confirmed that marijuana contains “alien DNA” from outside of our solar system.

Rating

False
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Origin

On 13 July 2016, the website IFLScience posted an article with an intentionally absurd headline: “Marijuana Contains ‘Alien DNA’ from Outside of Our Solar System, NASA Confirms.” The article actually had nothing to do with marijuana genetics or extraterrestrial DNA, but instead was intended to be a demonstration of how often people will share articles on social media without reading them:

Since you’re now reading, you’ll almost certainly be interested in this research that looked into the clicking and sharing behaviors of social media users reading content (or not) and then sharing it on social media.

So, if you are one of the lucky few who managed to click and read this article, we congratulate you! Although we do apologize for the misleading headline. In the meanwhile, have fun sharing the article and seeing who manages to chair a discussion on marijuana genetics, without ever reading it.

That people do not read what they share is well supported by multiple studies. A Columbia University study, mentioned in the IFLScience article, found that 59 percent of links shared on Twitter had never actually been clicked, for example.

In what could be viewed as an ironic and unintended consequence of the success of IFLScience’s demonstration of the power of headlines, several clickbait websites have plagiarized the entire article, further populating the internet with the false headline claim. Most recently, the website “Sci-Tech Universe” posted the same article in its entirety, generating nearly 100,000 shares in just a few days.

It is unclear, of course, how many of those sharers read the article.

An article’s factually ridiculous headline attempted to demonstrate people’s proclivity to share articles without reading them.