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368,379 people killed, 306,096 injured and over $2,815,931,000 in economic damages

What's the harm in internet misinformation?

There is a great variety of information on the internet. Quite a bit of it is complete nonsense. Relying on unchecked information can be very dangerous.  Read more about internet misinformation

Here are 10,169 people who were harmed by someone not thinking critically.

Marcia Bergeron

Age: 57
Quadra Island, British Columbia, Canada

Died (poisoning)
December 26, 2006

She distrusted conventional medicine, so she decided to self-medicate using pills purchased from a Canadian online pharmacy. What she didn't know was the pharmacy was not actually Canadian and the pills were tainted with toxic heavy metals. Read more

Photo of Jacqui Dean (MP)

Jacqui Dean (MP)

Age: 50
Otago, New Zealand

Public embarrassment
August 23, 2007

She was fooled by an online hoax that demanded a ban of "dihidrogen monoxide". (This is another name for water). She sent a letter to the Health Ministry asking for an opinion on banning the substance. Read more

Timo Degen

Age: 31
Munich, Germany

March 1997

After he learned of Breatharianism from a website, this kindergarten teacher decided to try it out. He was fasting for three weeks when he had to be hospitalized in a coma, and later died. Read more & more

Sue Gilliatt

Indianapolis, Indiana

Nose destroyed

Sue (a nurse) had a benign tumor on her nose removed, but was fearful of future cancer. Based on information found on the net, she used a bloodroot product to self-treat. Within days her nose was destroyed. Read more & more

Verity Linn

Age: 49
Loch Cam, Sutherland, Scotland

September 16, 1999

She learned of breatharianism via the internet, and decided to go into a complete fast while on a camping trip. Her body was found two weeks later. Read more & more

Richard McCaslin

Age: 37
Bohemian Grove, Monte Rio, California

11 years in prison
January 20, 2002

Horrified by (false) accusations about rituals at the Bohemian Grove he found on a conspiracy theory web site, he slunk into the private club expecting a gunfight. He was arrested and charged with felonies, for which he received a prison sentence. Read more & more

Roy Smith

Age: 42

Years of useless treatments before he died
July 13, 1998

Roy contracted ALS, and even though his doctor had screened him for mercury and found none, websites convinced him it was the cause. He had all his fillings removed and underwent years of chelation and oxygen therapy. Read more & more

Fredrick Töben

Mannheim, Germany

7 months in prison
April 8, 1999 - Nov. 11, 1999

He is a former schoolteacher who runs an Australian based website that denies the Holocaust. He was convicted of violating a German law regarding such claims and sentenced to prison. He was also prosecuted in Australia. Read more

54 hospital workers

Kumamoto, Japan

Sickened by fumes
May 21, 2008

Web sites which post instructions for mixing chemicals to commit suicide are common in Japan. A man who used this info vomited in the hospital and 23 patients and 31 staff were sickened by the fumes. Read more & more

Apple Computer shareholders

Cupertino, California

3% drop in stock price
October 3, 2008

When a "citizen journalist" posted a report on a CNN-affiliated website that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had suffered a heart attack, the value of the company's stock dropped as much as 11% but later recovered slightly. The SEC launched a probe into this. Read more

"John Doe"

Age: 38
Davis, California

Argyria (irreversible skin condition)

Colloidal silver remedy found on internet Read more

"John Doe"

Age: 12
Harmånger, Sweden

January 4, 2008

This boy found the rules to a "choking game" on the internet. He tried it and died. Read more

"John Doe"

Age: 55
Honolulu, Hawaii


He was diagnosed with sinus cancer, and found an alternative cure involving hydrazine sulfate on the internet. He bought it over the net and treated himself. He was hospitalized and died with (among other things) severe liver and kidney damage. Read more & more

residents of Gisborne, New Zealand

Gisborne, New Zealand

Town disrupted
January 16, 2008

After an American psychic predicted an earthquake for this town, residents clogged government and police phone lines with questions. Rumors spread further via internet web sites. Some fled the town. The quake never came. Read more

United Airlines shareholders

Chicago, Illinois

Stock dropped 11.2% in one day
September 8, 2008

A stock analyst misread a six year old online news story as if it were new, and released an advisory. This caused a flurry of trading in which the stock dropped from $12 to $3 in an hour. Trading was halted and the company had to issue a statement. Read more & more

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