students Week Six

Helping Solve The Misinformation Problem

This week, I am doing something a little different. This week, I am going to be sharing tips I think help with being real online as well as learning the importance of sharing true information on social media.

First, I think it is vital to understand the internet is a huge place, bigger than what most people even can comprehend. There is something out there for everyone; places where people can express themselves freely, communities for specific interests, and even places where people can communicate halfway around the world.

However, there is a downside with the internet being so huge: false information. I have found social networking sites are the channels where people spew their opinions on social and political issues, and their personal issues as well. The problem I find is most people, without researching, click a lovely, little button called “Share”.

Image result for share buttons


I found an article called “Social Media: Fake News” from Dickinson College I used to help me think critically on fact-checking my friends’ posts. I think the best way to approach a friend or family member who just shares willy-nilly would be to approach from a non-aggressive angle. Ask them questions about their beliefs of the fake sources without accusing them of being wrong, unintelligent, or not heard. I have found when people are being treated nicely, they will typically be nice back. It is important to take an informative approach because if the friend is viewed as having to take defensive measures, it can lead to a friendship being broken.

But, what if the friendly approach doesn’t work? Well, then, I resort to what I affectionately call “Plan B”. My secondary plan is to help them find flaws or holes in their argument. I do this by asking questions that are designed for simple yes or no answers.

“Do you think X has a point?” or “Will this really help?”

Once the other person can point out the flaws in their own argument, they might just start researching on their own and start sharing right information instead of spreading the misinformation to all their friends and family, making the world a better place.

Last, if none of the above works… sometimes, letting people figure things out on their own might just be the only solution for them.