Fact or fiction? Local 4 uncovers truth behind latest urban legends

Claims spread online, in text messages, emails, but it can be difficult to discern truth from false claims or myths


DETROIT – Everyone hears urban legends in stories, emails, text messages and social media, but it can be difficult to separate the facts from the complete fiction.

Local 4 did a little fact checking on some of the latest urban legends circulating.

Claim #1

Facebook will use your pictures in advertisements unless you change an account setting.

Local 4 checked with Facebook to find out if that is true or false. A Facebook spokesperson said, "We have not made any changes to how people see Facebook ads in the past few weeks. When viewing an ad, people may see that their friends liked a Page, but this is not new."

The spokeperson also said, "You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings."

Claim #2

There is a virus called LQP 79 that produces a zombie-like and cannibalistic behavior in people.

This started after the Memorial Day weekend violence in Miami in which a naked man actually chewed on the face of a homeless man in what has been called a zombie-like attack.

There is no such zombie virus, the claim is false.

Claim #3

Best Buy is offering free $1,000 gift cards to users who click on an online link in an email or text message.

Local 4 consulted retired Detroit Police lieutenant Tom Berry to verify whether this is true.

"It's a complete fraud, is what it is," said Berry. "All they're really doing, they're trying to get you to give them information."

Claim #4

A can of wasp spray is an alternative to pepper spray to protect against would-be attackers.

Berry said he advises against wasp spray. He said pepper spray will disable an attacker.

"That stuff is going to get in your eyes, it's going to start burning, you're not going to want to run after me," said Berry. "Are we really going to carry a big can of wasp spray? Because they don't have the little canister."

There are also liability issues to consider.

"I would think if you sprayed the wrong person, the wrong person only, you'd have some liability problem," said Berry.

Another option to protect yourself if somebody is approaching and you feel threatened, is to trigger your car alarm. Berry said that should frighten a potential attacker.