The dawn of social media brought about a quick and efficient method of mass communication that has the potential to allow an enormous amount of information to rapidly reach the hands of a large percentage of the world’s population.
Social media allows anyone and everyone to distribute information to a wide audience with zero regulation, whereas before, sources like newspapers, radio and television were largely filtered.
This combination of an increase in the number of people who could share content, and the lack of regulation behind the distribution of information, resulted in an increase of the amount of false information on the web. Incorrect or untrue information is now bouncing back and forth between social media accounts, gaining traction with each share and like.
Social media routinely facilitates the widespread distribution of false information without regulation. The use of social media platforms as a primary news source and scientific authority has led to many problems worldwide.
Taking the information you read on the internet as fact is extremely problematic, yet we are all at times guilty of it. Social media can actually be used as a positive method of informing the public because of its convenience and the capacity for a multitude of sources to reach a wide audience of people.
On the other hand, consumers need to ensure that the sources they are using are credible, and that they are using multiple different sources that analyze news from different points of view.
It is the responsibility of those of us using social media to research the information we read ,and address the credibility of the sources we are looking at; furthermore, it would be extremely valuable for the public to use multiple sources to get a view of the different sides and opinions on a given issue or event.
Some might say that censorship is necessary in order to regulate the information on the internet, but this view is problematic because it has the potential to violate free speech rights very easily.
Instead, individuals who post, perpetuate, and procure any information from the internet should see it as a personal responsibility to ensure that that information is correct.
Although censorship may be a more effective method of removing false information from the internet, in practice it would be extraordinarily problematic and at risk of violating free speech.
The media is such a powerful tool to distribute information and sway the opinions of the public, and this power should not be abused.
The responsibility of each and every media consumer user to verify the facts on the content that they view and share is immensely important to prevent the spread of false information that has the potential to be harmful if unchecked.