It is so easy to see a headline on a social media post, nod your head in agreement and push the share button. According to a recent Pew Research Study, a majority of U.S. adults – 62 percent – get their news on social media. Another study conducted by computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute, found that 59 percent of links shared on social media have never actually been clicked. Which means we’re sharing information without even knowing if it is from a legit news site or if there is anything factual about the story.
And because at some level we trust what our friends are sharing, we’ll go ahead and share, too. And so on and so on.
There is no denying the power of social media as a news disseminator. But with that power, must come some responsibility. I’ve been caught before, sharing stories that I assumed were accurate, only to find out later that they were not. I made the decision then to be much more aware of what I was sharing, to check multiple sources before pushing the share button.
And it seems that Google and Facebook are attempting to make it easier to discern fact from fiction. Both companies have banned fake news sites from using the advertising platforms with the hopes that this will alleviate the proliferation of inaccurate and untrue information being shared.
Time will tell whether this will work or not. In the meantime, check the facts before sharing. You’ll be glad you did.