I came here to write a story about an adorable lizard curled up in a rose.
It came from a Facebook post that was published Feb. 23 and has more than 41,000 shares. The headline was going to be something like 'This adorable lizard will make you feel all warm and fuzzy' because lizards are scaly. Get it? I was going to be clever, it was going to be cute.
But I paused.
Because the internet is a treacherous place.
It's pretty easy to find the legitimacy of something on the internet. For all its memes and silliness, the internet is a living breathing archive of information. I googled 'lizard in rose' and got results dating back to 2015.
Then I was sad because that lizard is probably dead, as anole lizards live only about 5 years, something the internet also told me.
The point of this cautionary tale is that I am a reporter, I work in news, I consume a lot of news and I have a healthy skepticism (maybe not-so-healthy) to me, but I was almost fooled by an innocent lizard taking a snooze in some foliage.
It's harmless but many news stories are not i.e. Stoneman Douglas students being crisis actors, fake news stories about politics or peoples' deaths. The internet is a wonderful tool but this is just a reminder to use it wisely.
Destiny Johnson is a digital reporter at First Coast News. She cares about eradicating fake news on social media so she can view more memes and worry less. Follow her on Twitter @hello_destiny.