Nowadays there are a lot of social media platforms that act as news sources for the general public because of all the traffic these social media platforms can pull in. These social media platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and a myriad of other smaller social media platforms where people can share whatever they want.
An issue with this new phenomenon would be that people can now share whatever their thoughts are on social media without having their posts be fact checked or legitimised. For example, Danielle Bregoli also known as “Bhad Bhabie” on instagram who is famous for her catchphrase “cash me ousside how bow dat”, got kicked off her flight with Spirit Airlines. According to (dailymail.co.uk) “Danielle Bregoli, 13, was kicked off a Spirit Airlines flight with her mother, Barbara Ann, on Tuesday for punching another passenger while boarding the plane at LAX.” But before anyone heard any news at all from the Daily Mail website or any other reliable source of news, they got it first off Danielle’s own explanation of what happened through recording herself talk on instagram’s story feature, combined with a lot of “leaked videos” from other passengers from the plane.
In those leaked videos shot of the incident from the airplane, the videos don’t start from the beginning of what happened, the video starts with Danielle already screaming and throwing punches at the passenger in the seat. This is a huge issue because now we don’t even know how the fight really started except for what people say happened. And on top of that, because Danielle is famous and viral everyone only posted stories of what she did and thought but never even thought to ask the other person’s point of view. Nowhere in the article could I find the other person’s point of view mentioned. In fact, I could not even locate the other person’s name in the article. The Daily Mail website only mentioned the passenger as a fellow passenger, the women, the unnamed woman, etc.
From this example we can see how the news that we receive can easily be a very one sided statement and that is not the kind of news we should be taking in. That is because then a lot of the news that we take in and absorb on a daily basis can be false information. The example of Danielle Bregoli might not be a big issue on the grand scheme of things but the way that people take in information is a big deal because nowadays people will read and believe anything on social media even though it might not even be actual serious news.
This is not entirely the media’s fault though because nowadays it is very important to be the first to publish information. Making people post whatever they have as soon as they have any information at all just so that people will flock to their social media platform and take up all their new content. Jerry McLaughlin made a really good analogy in his article with Forbes saying “do you remember your first kiss? I’m guessing yes. Do you remember your fourth kiss? Hmmm…”. His analogy of the importance of being first is very simple and straight to the point. We humans always tend to only remember the first thing that we see and these social media people know that. That is why all these people are always posting things for the general public to eat up even though the things being posted aren’t always true.
So since i’m guessing that most people probably already know that there are a lot of fake content and news on these social media outlets, you might ask the question “who do people still believe in fake news?”. The answer according to Arie Kruglanski’s article from the Huffington Post is due to the psychology of motivation. Basically, we humans have a conscious desire for information, and because of that natural desire for information we will be likely to respond to any messages that agree with our wishes and desires. Kruglanski notes that “two types of motivation are particularly relevant here: the need for certainty in times of turmoil and change, and the need to specific outcomes.”.
Now that we know what fake news is, how it happens, and why we always fall for it, let’s talk about how we can try to avoid fake news! David Robson wrote in his article with BBC News that there are six steps we can take to make ourselves “fake news” proof. The first step is to not be seduced by simplicity, he states that an article that is very easy to read may be considered fishy and even a simple font can give it away. The second step is to be smart to doctored images, because nowadays a lot of things can be photoshopped. The third step is to accept our ignorance and always try to look for truth. This is because a lot of times we are over confident that what we think is real has to be real, but that is not always the case. So we should always be fact checking ourselves before fully believing in something. The fourth step is to look beyond your bubble, meaning we should talk to different people and get more than just one person’s perspective. The fifth step was that we should be curious and always try to look for the truth through different angles. And last but not least, we should look for the opposite, because you never know which news is correct until you fact check. Now that you know how to spot out fake news, i hope you never fall for another trap again!