Social media isn’t a news source

Misleading post spread quickly

Photo+illustration+by+Ava+Ashby.+Twitter+banned+President+Donald+Trump+from+its+platform+Jan.+8.

Ava Ashby

Photo illustration by Ava Ashby. Twitter banned President Donald Trump from its platform Jan. 8.

Talia Lissauer

Outrage and disappointment has filled various social media platforms since the raid on the Capitol Jan. 6. People are posting their own opinions and reposting others’ posts on the matter. Journalists are working nonstop to piece together the puzzle of that day, while continuously updating their viewers/readers. While both of these aspects have their own benefits, it is crucial to understand the difference between a journalist and someone with a social media account. One is researched and edited, the other may not be.  

Anyone has the ability to post anything they want on social media. While this is a valuable part of today’s society, it allows for an easy spread of misinformation and flat-out lies. It can be difficult to decipher between an accurate post and a misleading one. Especially when posts are circulating around Instagram and being reposted by someone you know, it can be easy to ignore or not even think about where that information is coming from. 

President Donald Trump was one of the many people using social media during the events Jan. 6 which led to him getting banned from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, among many other platforms. Throughout his entire presidency, Trump has been using social media as a way to spread lies and misinformation and even though that is not why he has finally banned these platforms, it shows how easily someone can spread blatant lies. The New York Times tracked Trump’s Twitter for a week and found out of 139 tweets, 26 were false and 24 were misleading or lacked context. If the President of the United States can spread misinformation on social media without getting banned, there is nothing to stop anyone else from doing it. Social media platforms can flag some posts, but it is not possible to catch every single one.

When it comes to obtaining the news, social media is not the place unless it is the account of a legitimate news outlet, especially in breaking news situations when there is constantly new information. It is a journalist’s job to truthfully report the news and that’s what many of them have been doing since Jan. 6. Don’t replace them with random social media posts. Read or watch what they publish. The information they are putting out is so important and can not be obtained in a social media post. 

Journalism is evolving as technology does. Many outlets like the Star Tribune, The New York Times and CNN all have social media, following them is an easy way to keep up to date with reliable news. Social media is a great place to voice someone’s opinions, but it is crucial to be aware of the information going on and verifying that information elsewhere before posting or reposting something. Social media and the news media can coexist as long as the difference between the two remains clear.