Recently I looked at some of my own blog’s statistics, and apparently some of you are actually reading my posts. Since I recently attended a continuing legal education class on technology and social media, I thought this would be a good time to post a warning – do not blindly trust all that you find on the internet. Sure, there are many great websites and blogs out there containing tons of useful information, and many authors take great pains to ensure that the content they post is correct and up-to-date (at least on the date of the posting); still there are plenty of websites published solely to give wrong information and erroneous advice… on purpose.
Why would someone disseminate wrong information on purpose? Apparently, just because he or she can. It’s called “website misinformation” and it is exactly what it sounds like. Someone either hacks a genuine website and edits information to spread misinformation, or creates a fake website aka counterfeit site to spread false “news” or advice.
So, when it comes to legal news and information, be wary about the source. After all, if you find some interesting or useful tidbit on-line, there is no guarantee that the person who wrote or re-posted it knows what he or she is talking about. On-line everyone can share information or misinformation. Even if the information was correct when posted, by the time you read it, it could be grossly outdated or even plain wrong. That is why when you are searching or researching a legal issue – keep in mind that even legal books and software usually contain a disclaimer advising that – “[t]he information contained in this book/program is not legal advice and is not a substitute for legal advice. For legal advice, consult with a lawyer.” It may be useful to get some information on-line, but when it comes to the real legal issue (your legal problem), there simply is no substitute for talking to an attorney who can analyze your situation and offer you advice tailored to your specific problem.