The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the position of ZU Media or APU
Social Media can spread misinformation on a whole other level.
The 2020 election has been full of debates and arguments across the country. When scrolling through social media, there are endless posts relating to the election. Information is constantly being exchanged between different users, whether it be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Due to this, misinformation can easily spread.
Recently, Twitter removed President Trump’s advisor’s post which claimed facemasks don’t make a difference. Facebook and Twitter also limited a New York Post article that covered allegations about Joe Biden’s son.
So how did this social media takeover begin?
When social media first began in the late 1990s, no one predicted how much it would affect our daily lives. It wouldn’t be until the 2010s that social media began to dominate the public domain, especially for the younger generations. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat and Tik Tok all became massively popular.
Then, social media started to promote the tear down of political parties during the 2016 election. The New York Times referred to Trump’s presidency as “Trump’s Twitter Presidency,” noting his excessive use of the platform. Trump’s use of social media has dramatically changed how elections and politics are promoted to the general public.
Ever since the 2016 social media presidential election, there has been an increase in those who do not trust the media. One recent survey by Gallup showed more than half of all Americans don’t have a lot of trust in the media. Much of this can be attributed to bias; both from the viewer and the news source.
As John Sands stated in an article by AP News, “Our concern is that when half of Americans have some sort of doubt about the veracity of the news they consume, it’s going to be impossible for our democracy to function.” More people have a harder time accepting what is true and are more easily influenced by misinformation.
Furthermore, the Wall Street Journal reported that since politicians and political candidates can interact with voters directly through social media apps like Facebook and Twitter, people can easily be influenced on a personal level. This is a pretty dangerous combination; those posts and news articles on Twitter and Facebook, whether they are true or false, can have major ramifications.
One more effect that social media produces is how fast news comes and goes. Since people can constantly create more and more posts, facts can get muddled and lost. This can lead to gaps in information which can add more confusion. Courthouse News reported that Americans are more stressed than ever by the news due to how hard it is to stay informed about specific news coverage.
This is why social media should be treated more carefully. Because misinformation can appear anywhere, it is hard to define what is true or not. If we don’t pay attention to what is influencing us, we will become more divided. In a time where things are chaotic and out of control, unity is needed now more than ever.
To combat this, always take the time to do your research. And finally, have an open mind.