Why look at the newspaper when you can look at your newsfeed? In this day and age, more people go to social media sites like Twitter for the latest news.
“I can’t tell you the last time I watched the news or looked up a current event. I just pay attention to what is trending so I know what is going on in the world. I’m usually the first to know what happens,” said Elizabeth Young, a student at Florida State University.
Twitter has made it quicker to receive information because of the simplicity of tweeting and its ability to spread quickly. Most young adults prefer to use social media for news considering it requires less reading and is more entertaining.
Anyone can post on social media and anyone can see it, so how can one be certain that what we are reading is true? The thing is, you cannot be certain because not everyone who posts a fact is a credible source.
Fake news spreads like wildfire on social media because it is more entertaining than the truth. False news is retweeted more and spread farther than real news.
“Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information, and the effects were more pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends, or financial information,” wrote a team, led by Sinan Aral of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the journal Science. “It took the truth about six times as long as falsehood to reach 1,500 people.”
At all times, what we know and what we see is being monitored by the government and tech giants. Everything we see on social media is being controlled and can be used as a way to manipulate users.
When posting on social media, you have to follow the guidelines or else it can be taken down. Imagine how many posts were taken down that have never been seen exposing the many secrets that go on in the world that we are not supposed to know.
The people spreading false information are not always robots. Most of the time they are real people with a lot of followers or who are verified with the blue checkmark. People with a lot of followers are called “influencers” for a reason. They influence the way their supporters and followers think, feel, or want.
Many people who have huge influence get paid to post on their social media. You never really know who is on the other side of the tweet when you read it.
“I get paid when I tweet,” said rapper Future, with 6.6 million followers after a series of raunchy and outlandish tweets.
People prefer information that supports their preexisting thoughts on a situation. Once a post is retweeted and shared, it spreads to their followers, once their followers retweet the post it is spread to all their followers and so on.
Next time you see news on social media, make sure you fact check using a credible source. Instead of a clickbait headline designed to stir the pot and get people talking, you will receive the real story of what actually happened and a more in-depth story.