4 Times Social Media Saved Lives. Because Your Newsfeed Deserves Some Happiness
Facebook and Twitter aren't all that bad after all

November 24, 2016

Twitter users recently saved a man from eating a poisonous fish.

Here are 3 more times social media was more than a cesspool

It’s hard to find much merit in social media these days. Between clickbait, fake news, and political rants, Facebook and Twitter probably make you want to punch a wall more than give high-fives.

But every once in a while, the people of the Internet prove their worth.
Take the case of Atto Narathiga, a 20-year-old Japanese man who posted photos from a fishing excursion to Twitter last week.
Narathiga caught a scrawled filefish, which is extremely poisonous if prepared the wrong way. While the fish’s flesh is edible, its intestines are filled with ciguatera, a toxin that causes vomiting and neurologic symptoms.

When Narathiga snapped a few photos of his haul, boasting that he and his buddies were going to go to town on its liver, Twitter had a panic attack and urged him to cancel the dinner party.
A few Twitter users chimed into tell Naragitha that the intestines are inedible, and others pleaded with him to check in to make sure he was still alive.

When Naragitha went silent for a few hours, people figured he might be toast. Turns out his battery died, and he threw the fish back into the ocean after realizing how close to death he could have come.
Naragitha’s divine Twitter intervention is one of several instances in which the Internet was a force for good, rather than a den of trolling and harassment. Here are three more.


In 2012, a Reddit user submitted a hand-drawn cartoon about his experience taking a pregnancy test as a joke and it coming up positive, according to ABC News.

Although the cartoonist figured it was just some strange anomaly, Reddit users chimed in to tell him that a male positive pregnancy test result means that the body is creating beta human chorionic gonadotrophin (beta-HCG), a marker for testicular cancer that is also present in a pregnant woman’s system.

The cartoonist saw a doctor and was diagnosed with a small tumor on his testicle. In a follow-up post, he wrote “[…] thank you, and in all seriousness, if you are male check yourself for testicular cancer regularly.”


When Deborah Kogan’s son Leo’s teacher sent him home in 2011 with a note about a string of strep infections going around the school, Kogan realized that her boy’s forehead felt hot. After multiple visits to the pediatrician, Leo wasn’t getting any better, according to Slate.

Frustrated and out of ideas, Kogan posted a picture of Leo on Facebook and asked for help diagnosing what was wrong with the boy.

Within hours of posting the photo, an old neighbour called Kogan frantically to tell her that Leo likely had Kawasaki Disease, a rare illness in which the blood vessels become inflamed and can lead to coronary aneurysm, which is potentially lethal.

Fortunately, Kogan got Leo to the doctor right away for treatment, which saved him from getting sicker.


Earlier this year, Kenneth “Pawpaw” Harmon wanted nothing more than a burger blast with his grandchildren. But like most good-for-nothing grandkids, all but one flaked out on Pawpaw.
So when Harmon’s granddaughter Kelsey tweeted a photo of Pawpaw eating a hamburger all by himself, the Internet knew that this injustice had to be remedied.
Pawpaw ended up getting love from all corners of the Internet, with random people suggesting that they would go to one of his cookouts even if his grandchildren wouldn’t.

Sure enough, when the outpouring of love prompted Pawpaw to host a barbecue for the public, over 100 people showed up to the party.