And I'm okay with that.
Someone has coined the perfect phrase to describe the random feels-evoking crap floating around primarily on social networks:
That's exactly what it is. It ain't true. It ain't real. It never happened. People are passing it around because it already confirms their prejudices, their beliefs, and the fact that they had an emotional reaction to it. There are sites that focus almost entirely on creating this sort of shit (Upworthy, ViralNova, the Daily Mail by all accounts), a link tagged with that is the source being a sure way of getting me not to ever follow something you share.
(The other way is, of course, link-baiting headlines: if your headline includes a number not preceded by a dollar sign, if your headline includes the phrase "you won't believe," if your headline includes the phrase "this easy method" – you may be an idiot, you may be a fool, and you may be a moron, but I can tell you something that you will never be – and that is a source of something that I care about.)
Learn to recognize viral fiction. Learn to recognize it and inoculate against it. Under recognize it, inoculate against it, and eradicate it from your life because along with understanding due diligence and why it's important, recognizing viral fiction and aggressively avoiding it as toxic to anything like good thinking is going to be increasingly important if you want anyone to take you seriously.
This has been yet another public service announcement.
Defamation (includes libel and slander): discussed in greater depth below.
Obscenity: The Supreme Court test for obscenity is as follows: (a) whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
Fighting words: As defined by the Supreme Court, fighting words are "those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace."
Causing panic: The classic example of speech causing panic is someone yelling "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater. Speech may be suppressed where a reasonable person would know that his speech is likely to cause panic and/or harm to others.
Incitement to crime: Speech that spurs another to commit a crime.
Sedition: Speech that advocates unlawful conduct against the government or the violent overthrow of the government.