It started with a wild claim: On February 10, the pull of gravity on Earth would change, allowing a broom to stay balanced when you stood it upright. Within hours, people all over social media were taking the broomstick challenge. On TikTok alone, videos of it have been viewed tens of millions of times.
But the challenge turned out to be based on a hoax. Brooms really can stand upright on any day of the year.
The broomstick challenge is pretty harmless. But experts say it’s just one example of a more serious problem on social media: misinformation. That’s information that is partly or entirely incorrect, misleading, or deceptive. And on popular apps like YouTube and TikTok, it’s easy for bad information to go viral.