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Real or not real? News issues

Jan 17 • Olivia Burger, Opinion • 774

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When it comes to voicing opinions on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter I hardly ever participate in sharing my views.

Aside from the occasional shared video or rogue Tweet or two, I try to keep my opinions to myself, mostly because I hate confrontation and I’d just rather stay out of it.

Being a social media pacifist can become frustrating at times, however, especially when it seems like everyone and their grandmother feels it is necessary to post their beliefs, often political, on the internet.

It has grown increasingly more frustrating when certain users share videos or stories from unreliable outlets, which are often times downright fake news sites geared toward deceiving viewers.

These fake news stories are becoming more and more dangerous as they are shared more frequently.

Though it’s not necessarily their fault, those who continue to share these fake news stories aid in circulating inaccurate and deceptive information.

To someone who isn’t tech savvy or someone who is new to Facebook, it can be a bit hard to spot a difference between what’s real or not, especially when the fake news sites use graphics that appear similar to familiar ones from CNN or FOX News.

Some giveaway signs that a story may be fake are that the headline will use shocking and flashy words and it will be all in capital letters. These headlines are successful in suckering people into the site with their eye-catching look.

Another way to tell that a story is fake is that there will be no author listed, or the author listed has no hyperlink to his/her own profile.

Credible sources always list an author and it’s always a good idea to double- check the accuracy of the author, making sure that he/she is qualified and legitimate.

This all being said, the best rule to consider when judging a news source is common sense.

Does what you’re reading look and sound real? Does what you’re reading really make sense?

A story that claims Jennifer Lopez is moving to Meadville hardly seems accurate to me, but to some of my friends on Facebook apparently it does.

Don’t get me wrong, JLo in my hometown would be amazing but c’mon. Really?

I miss the junior high days when Facebook posts were not so political, and were used for posting song lyrics and uploading “truth is” videos.

While nostalgia for a time where grandparents didn’t know what Facebook was and gaining 10 likes on a post was considered a feat, I don’t foresee us returning to the “dark ages” of social media anytime soon.

I just hope that with the changing digital landscape and our Digi-modernism culture we will become smarter digital consumers.

With technological progress comes more liability and more responsibility to ensure that our devices do not eventually outsmart our minds.

Next time before you hit share, consider if what you’re reading even makes sense and perhaps actually do your own fact-checking. Crazy concept, I know.

OLIVIA BURGER

burger028@knights.gannon.edu

 

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