Is social media a reliable news source?

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Is social media a reliable news source?

Illustration by Jonah Dietz

Illustration by Jonah Dietz

Illustration by Jonah Dietz

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The short answer is no, social media is not a reliable news source. Now while that’s not the end of the article, let’s see if I can hold your attention for the next five minutes.

Now, I’m just as guilty as everyone else is at using social media for some news. My Twitter feed does consist of different political affiliates or voices that I follow and their opinions. Out of my friends and family, most of them get their news from their social media and phones in general. Some still watch local news stations, but most have moved to digital.

With social media, everything is brought to our fingertips. People don’t have to wait for their local news to report on the goings-on in the world, or pick up their daily paper. All news sources now have their own social media presence, and provide the same experience to their followers. Now the problem and title of the article reinstate itself. Should we consider social media as a credible source of news?

One problem that social media creates is the endless amount of false information, “fake news,” if you will. Users must filter through all of the info lain before them and determine what they find interesting and what is factual. Twitter even “helps” its users by ranking the trending page according to the user and site-wide data. By doing so, Twitter is creating a user-oriented feed for Twitter users. But Twitter is also creating an environment likened to a chamber. An echo chamber.

These echo chambers are feeds or comment threads that echo the same ideas that people have and resist any change or differing opinions. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, of course, but as I’ve stated, misinformation is prevalent on Twitter, and many of these threads spread these falsities.

To avoid the spread of misinformation, always check multiple sources on a story or idea. There will always be different organizations or personalities, talking about significant events. Talk to people that don’t exactly agree with your opinion, healthily and constructively. You don’t have to agree with what someone is saying, but if you both civilly conduct yourselves, great things will come out of the conversation. This form of conversing is how beneficial ideas are put into motion; ideas that don’t harm reputations or lives.

In my opinion, it is imperative to hold fast to your beliefs and ideals but remains open to different views. It helps you learn as a person and challenge your beliefs. By doing so, you can either strengthen or change your opinions on a topic. Follow different news sources, even those that don’t align with your beliefs. This way, you don’t fall into an echo chamber. Following various sources grants you all possible viewpoints on a topic. Social media can be a tool to create personal newsrooms, but it can also be misused. Don’t rely on the internet to give you all of the answers. You will have to do some research and find out for yourself.

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