Fake news. The phrase most notably coined by Donald Trump, and the words we hear too often for our own liking. With the prevalence of social media in our day to day lives, it’s important to recognize the dangers that come with the free flow of information and the extensive reach of social media platforms.
When it comes to consuming news, conventional news sources such as newspapers and cable news networks are being outpaced by social media platforms.
According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2018, 43% of American adults consume news from Facebook, 21% use YouTube, and 12% look to Twitter for their news.
Although news has become much more widespread and easier to access, social media and the promotion of the free range of information has also opened a dangerous gate for spreading information that is untrue and often harmful.
With the election just three weeks away, we must start using the internet in a more responsible and effective way and hold ourselves accountable to the information that we come across.
It might be easier said than done, but don’t believe everything that you read.
There has been a flood of misinformation pertaining to this upcoming election and it is vital for voters to be critical when processing any kind of news.
The best way to protect yourself from fake information is to be educated. Regardless of your political affiliation, every American who uses social media is at risk of coming across some sort of information that is false.
There are a variety of resources to help fact check and gain clarity on issues made available by a simple Google search, some of which include Pen America and FactCheck.org, which are both non-profit organizations who offer guidance to help spot fake information.
PolitiFact is also a project which provides practical tools for checking the accuracy of information.
It is unfortunate that our leaders are not ones who can be trusted to provide us with accurate information, so as voters, it is our responsibility and in our best interest to take matters into our own hands and seek the truth.