The Latest Fake News Victim Is Spiders!?

It’s 2022, and if you’re venturing onto the internet, you should know by now to be on the lookout for fake news.  But not everyone does, and it isn’t just your parents that are dropping the ball.

And the latest victim of fake news is SPIDERS.  (???)

According to the journal Current Biology, scientists argue that articles about spider bites are often false.  They analyzed over 5,300 news stories from around the world, and found that 43% “contained sensational language,” while 47% “contained factual errors.”

The paper’s authors argue that spiders “almost never bite people,” and of the 50,000 known spider species, “very few are dangerous to humans.”  And many of them actually prey on household and agricultural pests.

But yet, a lot of people have a fear of spiders and freak out when they see them inside their homes, and the media stokes that fear by using words like “killer,” “terror,” “nasty,” and “nightmare” in stories about spiders, which exaggerate and misrepresent the danger.

 

(Smithsonian / Science News)