As we all would agree, we live in an ever growing digital world, where life without social media seems impossible. Our vocabularies are familiar with the names YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and so on, and that seems only natural in today’s tech driven world. I can’t remember the last time I spent the day without accessing social media.
The ease with which we can access these platforms has made us familiar enough with them, however, it’s unfortunate that the familiarity can sometimes border on addiction. We tend to get our daily dose of news, entertainment and even validation from social media. In such a situation where our daily awareness comes from social media, how far-fetched is the concept and effect of manipulated news in our life?
The well-known proverb “no good news is news” can maybe be rephrased today as “all news is not true news”. Imagine waking up one morning and discovering that all your information was fabricated. I am fairly confident that most of us would experience shock and surprise. What is most surprising is the fact that although most adults are wary and suspicious of the information that they receive from these platforms, they still continue to look to the same for updates in our daily routine.
“Fake news”, as we all know, is a term popularized by President Donald Trump to define the ‘sold news’ system of social media. Though we may disagree on this simple generalisation we need to admit that there is an iota of truth to this term as well. To be honest, none of us are aware of the amount of fake news that we experience every day. So, it is only natural that we are suspicious of the news that we receive, especially from social media.
In a study conducted by Reuters about the scepticism surrounding news and media, only 24% of the sample vouched for the news that they received from social media, and 40% vouched for mainstream media. There is a sense of suspicion and doubt in both, but, social media was found to be more unreliable and for the right reasons. It is high time that people receive “true news” for we deserve to know the truth.
However, we do need to note that social media has a broader scope and does help cover sections of the news neglected by mainstream media like the LGBT community, the migrant crisis and so on and so forth. We do need to admit that news on social media does go into areas that are not dealt with by general media and surely has a valid & ever expanding purpose. We only wish that it was more validated & authentic and hence a reliable news source for those who access it.
As the Maya Angelou quote says “Know better, do better”, maybe online media should realise its roles and responsibilities and fulfil our needs of transforming into citizens of today.