What is Social Media’s role in our news today?

So let’s ask ourselves, where do we get most of our news today?

facebook  twitter  reddit

It used to be by newspaper and radio, while later transitioning into television news stations. However, our news recently has recently been dominated by social media and our cellphone applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit.

There exists both positive and negative implications of our news source to be shifting towards social media outlets.

I believe the critical, breaking news is now being able to be sent almost in “real-time” and instantaneously. This week, an  armed knifeman attacked and hospitalized 11 on Ohio State University’s campus. The entire attack lasted a mere two minutes thanks to quick official response but also thanks to the social media presence in a large campus like Ohio State. After mere minutes of the attack, the entire campus was notified of the assailant and was in lock down. Emergency situations like this often benefit from today’s strong media presence.

I believe there are also serious negative consequences for shifting towards a social media driven news society. During 2015, in midst of the election season there was a story claiming that Ford Motor Co. was moving truck production from Mexico to Ohio went viral on Facebook. The post was thought as to be “neither entirely true nor completely false” as it falls into a grey area of news. Since these stories do not get fact checked by an editorial staff or credible journalists the stories can be entirely misleading to the general public.

First it is important to note that Facebook is foremost a tech company and not a company specialize in news like a CNN or FOX News. However the general public often fails to differentiate the one from the other. False posts on Facebook undermine its credibility and its audience don’t know which are true or false.

Also, many companies can have the option to advertise on sites like Facebook which can highlight certain stories while burying others.

I believe that switching to social media driven news society has both its positive and negative impact on society and if Facebook can filter out the false stories or have higher editorial standards for posts that end up on the left side of the home page, sites such as Facebook may end up building up its credibility.

Thanks for the read!

-Sammy Lee

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