“The Grandmother Problem” & Importance to Fact-Check

As social media becomes increasingly popular, it’s important we understand that content shared to your own audience comes with the responsibility that the content is accurate and credible. Although there are no real laws against sharing fake news, it could harm your credibility, the media environment, and cause harm at a national level.

The importance to “share with care” is under-emphasized in our current media environment and has led to an issue of widespread fake news. This may be due to the idea that many are unaware of how important it is to fact-check all content before sharing and recognize that not everything online is true. The discussion can be difficult to have because it could come off wrong and offend or confuse someone in your social network.

So what is the best way to approach the conversation?

I found that showing an example of fake news and its effects avoids offense and helps understand the importance to fact-check. This approach also shows how rapid and harmful effects of widespread fake news can be.

One example I have used iis this article by FOX regarding a misleading tweet where one man claimed that the charter buses in a picture he attached was filled with anti-trump protestors.

Eric Tucker, creator of the tweet, emphasizes that he thought the tweet would not ever become a big deal because he only had 40 followers and tweeted only twice a year.  Despite his circumstances, the tweet became a national controversy and led to Donald Trump becoming a victim of Tucker’s “fake news”.  It’s also important to note that all of these effects happened less than 24 hours after it was posted.

You should also remain neutral and provide only the evidence with this approach or you may lose engagement in the conversation or start an argument with a loved one.

This conversation is vital to have with those lacking the knowledge mentioned above and brings to light responsibility held online while emphasizing to always “share with care” so we can decrease spread of fake news and the harmful effects that follow. If the issue is not prioritized by consumers than we will only continue to see greater harm caused with misinformation.