Facebook’s fake news problem isn’t a problem people are!
Facebook’s fake news problem isn’t a problem people are. Yes, I said it, and I believe it to be true.
In this day and age where everyone has a megaphone via Social Media and the internet in general, you can’t just assume everything you read is true. We have all heard the saying “ Don’t believe everything you read on the internet”, and that premise needs to be adhered to even on platforms where your friends are sharing links.
Lets assume for a minute that all the articles are true. For the most part they started from something, some form of fact right? However, it’s in human nature that we inheritedly are biased one direction or another. Even when we are trying our best not to be we are, simply because we are approaching it from a certain perspective. It is that perspective that first introduces us to a form of bias.
Even the best seasoned reporters, true journalists if you look hard enough you can probably guess where they are coming from. That being said that alone doesn’t mean it’s inaccurate.
Now flip the coin and be the reader, same thing applies. There is something that triggered us to read that article. It could be curiosity, anger, appreciation, but it was some emotion that caused it. We don’t often just read something to read it, we aren’t in school anymore where news is a requirement. It is that emotion that could instantly bias us to a viewpoint. Think of any headline from The Onion, for example this one; New Report Finds Americans Most Interested In Science When Moon Looks Different Than Usual. Are we really that more interested in science when the moon looks different or is the truth that it catches our eye and we are a curious species? I’m betting we are curious, and people Google why the moon looks different. My point here is, the headline implies a false statement as does the article to boot.
Now combine that with the mainstream and cable news stations. If you take a look at some of the research sites out there; Media Matters, Pew Research, News busters you can see a discrepancy in what each major news network covers. I’m not talking about what Chicago local covers vs. New York, I’m specifically talking about National issues on national networks. For instance, take a look at the “free” coverage discrepancies between the two political candidates. If you look you will notice that there isn’t a 50% split of positive\negative coverage, nor is there a split between the topics covered. There was obvious bias across all media outlets (both directions), some less than others.
Overall the point here is in this day and age you need to be responsible and not trust what you read or hear. I don’t mean thatpessimisticallybut with 44% of people getting their news from Facebook, combined with the bias of mainstream news outlets you need to be responsible. Even if you want to take the stance of “Trust but verify”. You are doing yourself a disservice if you aren’t a) taking a look at both sides of a story to verify how accurate it is, and b) if once you have a perception you aren’t willing and constantly challenging your perception. Be open minded enough to consider that you were wrong or not well informed. There is no harm in changing a viewpoint or having a different viewpoint as long as you have done the research to be educated.