Stop falling for fake news

maia zhu

Scroll. Click. Read. Repost.
3,021 individuals signed a petition under the Instagram account known as “iusdproposedschedule” with alarm due to a supposed extended bell schedule. This rumor spread like a wildfire and was soon the topic of every classroom conversation. Teachers put these rumors to a rest and students realized that they had been subject to believing misinformation. Society contains the consumers of information who need to learn how to identify unreliable sources and misinformation in the media.

From Facebook posts to Fox News, misinformation is everywhere and not going away anytime soon. It may seem like nothing less than an inconvenience when trying to find sources for an English essay, but it is so much more than that. The spread of misinformation and conspiracies pose serious threats to a safe and functioning society. In the 2016 election between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton, there was an ongoing speculation that the pizza shop known as Comet Ping Pong was an underground child sex ring led by Clinton and John D. Podesta. The New York Times stated that the threats of the innocent pizza shop staff started out with death threats on social media and soon led to gun violence. What started out as a “harmless” rumor, ended with guns and police cars. Fake news not only corrupts the minds of people around the globe, it puts people’s lives in danger. The root of the Pizzagate fiasco was false information. Had people been more educated on misinformation, no one’s life would have been put in the way of harm. Fake news has the power to cause pure chaos amongst society if people continue to blindly take in information.

False information is so embedded in new technology that many people don’t even realize that they are consuming mass amounts of misinformation everyday. When one pulls out their phone and scrolls through social media, they are put inside their own personal filter bubble. Many aren’t aware of this. A filter bubble is defined as an “online environment in which people are exposed only to opinions and information that conform to their existing beliefs,” according to Merriam-Webster. Online users are put into a box of their own beliefs and never think outside that box. This plays on people’s confirmation bias. When people are only being fed information that fuels their own beliefs, they are more susceptible to believing fake news that confirms that they are right. The problem is that the average person has trouble identifying whether what they are consuming is reliable or not. Since most are unaware of how common false information is, they tend to believe what they want instead of the truth.

While fake news is unacceptable, it’s the consumers of news that need to take accountability for identifying false information. The spread of misinformation is the tale as old as time. It will never go away and likely will only grow stronger. Instead of pinning the blame on the sources spreading the fake news, society needs to learn how to identify when the media is twisting the truth. Several people like to pin the blame on the media but continue to blindly look at the news. The media plays a huge part in the spread of misinformation but that is uncontrollable, what is controllable is people’s knowledge on recognizing trustworthy information. Not only does the world need to learn how to realize when they are being fed lies, but people need to have a better understanding of what fake news truly is. The term “fake news” gets thrown around without true meaning attached to it. Just because something contradicts one’s own opinions does not mean that it is fake or false information. The misuse of the term “fake news” contributes to this problem that the modern world is facing. It adds to confusion amongst people when trying to decipher if they are receiving correct information through their news sources.

Fortunately, this issue has a very simple fix. Educating yourself on how to identify fake news is the most impactful and important thing that anyone could do. It doesn’t cost anything and is a relatively easy task to do. Everyone is guilty of believing false information. No one is perfect and it is inevitable that misinformation will deceive you every now and then. However, being more aware about the information you are consuming on a daily basis can make a world of difference. Fake news will always be around, it’s you that can make a change.

Activate Search
Stop falling for fake news