How much should we trust social media as credible sources for news or other information? Discuss this question and use the article on Huffington Post:

Social media has changed the way the news flow: now it is possible that every citizen in the world inform about a new and the media use it to spread it. Not so long time ago this flow had only one direction: from the media to people, but now, it’s a circle where everybody can be part of.

At the beginning o the social media the people believed everything that was on it, exactly as happened with the beginning of the overcrowding of the Internet. But with the past of the years and a lot of experiences with fake news (the most know in the net is say that somebody very popular has died) the people started to be more critical and not believe all that came from social media. I think that nowadays we realised that social media it a tool to find sources and information, but no a credible source if you don’t check them out. It is like all the sources found in all the history of journalism: it only can be useful once you’ve check that they are reliable.

The big change with the sources that social media has made, in my opinion, it that now there are thousands of it and very easy to find. Fifteen years ago could be a nightmare find a reliable source that could have good information, access to it and the way to communicate with the journalist. But nowadays, the journalist can find sources in all the social media using the filters that it have and start a contact very easily with the new source. The way of communication is instantaneous and the journalist nowadays can live in USA and know what’s going on Thailand by their own sources.

The viral hoax is the most popular example of how we trust social media. It is a fake new which have a very fast spreading around the net and everybody believes it, but it is a lie. It can be related to a company, a popstar, an unknown person or whatever we can imagine.  The most popular hoax on 2014 were stories like “a machine that turn water into wine”, “Macaulay Culkin has died” or “A disfigured 3-year-old was kicked out of a Mississippi KFC”. This stories become so popular so fast but after a large spreading, journalist discovered that it was a fake.

Here we can see a radio host on US talking about the last hoax on Facebook:

The spreading of the news today is faster than we could ever think before and this makes that sometimes, the sources are not checked. The idea of be the first to write about a new usually is more powerful than the idea of make good journalism, so the viral hoax is very common nowadays. To sum up, the social media spread the news so fast and sometimes it spread fake news. The journalist today need to be so careful with the sources they use because a fake new spread by a very good journalist can end with his/her career. I believe that social media are a tool to find sources and information, but not a direct source or 100% reliable.

Bibliography:

  1. Washington Post,. (2015). The 15 worst Internet hoaxes of 2014 – and where the pranksters are now. Retrieved 23 April 2015, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/12/18/the-15-worst-internet-hoaxes-of-2014-and-where-the-pranksters-are-now/
  2. VICE,. (2015). Here’s How to Prevent Fake News from Spreading on Social Media | VICE | United States. Retrieved 23 April 2015, from http://www.vice.com/read/only-you-can-stop-fake-news-from-spreading-on-the-internet
    1. YouTube,. (2015). 3 Fake stories spreading on Facebook right now. Retrieved 23 April 2015, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQff6wgzUVw

Inés Luján.

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