Extra Credit: The “Grandmother Problem”

Everyone has family or friends on social media who share questionable content that masquerades as factual and legitimate information. Often, articles based around the topic of politics appeal to far left or far right beliefs and receive traction on Facebook or Twitter.

Although I grew up in Los Angeles, I have some family who live in Illinois. An uncle in a small Illinois town who I am friends with on Facebook has had a habit of posting links to such articles. For this prompt, I decided to respond to something that he shared.

I replied through a direct message saying, “Hey, I hope you’re doing well. I just wanted to let you know the piece you posted earlier is actually from a bad source. I usually wouldn’t reach out but felt the need to mention it. I think we can agree that most major news publishers have an agenda, and that it isn’t much better than the average blogger writing articles without citing sources. Since we’re family, I hope you can trust that I wanted to reach out with your best interest in mind.”

After a few hours, I received a response saying, “Hey Timothy, glad you said something! I unfollowed the page and took down the post. Let me know if you see anything ever again. And always send articles you find if you see anything interesting!!”

I was grateful he was understanding, and even took some action. Although, I don’t think he knew how to take down the post in question as I actually saw he had shared it again. I continued to send him links to Facebook pages with more trustworthy news sources. In this case, I think this was the most I was able to do.