“The key to surviving both middle school and the real world is to be able to decipher whether or not the news you are reading or listening to is fake or real.”
By: M. Buffolino
Picture this: you open your phone one morning, log in to Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, or any social media website, and you see that there has been a post being spread about you. The post shows a picture of you speaking to a teacher and the caption for the image is describing how you are a teacher’s pet and that you will snitch about anyone to the teacher if you find out any negative information. A girl/boy in your grade that you are not too fond of is spreading the post around the internet. You look at the post and realize that everything in the post is untrue; you were really talking to a teacher apologizing for being absent so frequently due to a sickness. After seeing the offensive post you look to see who has viewed it, liked/retweeted it. You see that almost half of your grade has seen the post. You automatically feel humiliated that someone would ruin your reputation.
That same day you decide to go to school. You can’t help but notice everyone whispering things about you to their friends after you pass by them. The only way to resolve this problem is if you go on to social media yourself and clear your name. You create a post saying the real story and explaining how everything said about you untrue. The relief you feel for having the real information out is short lived because no one seems to be viewing it or liking/retweeting the real information. Nearly a quarter of the people who saw the fake news have access to the real news. While this may happen to any one person, this can happen on a larger scale.
There are many times in government when people have created fake news and spread it through social media. There are many cases where people purposely create the fake news and there are also many cases where people take their misinformation and publicize it to make it seem true. The news is most easily spread through social media. Why is news easiest spread through social media? There are millions of people who are active through social media and there are thousands of news stories each day that spread among those people. When misinformation is spread through social media, it is difficult to take back the misinformation and educate the public on the true facts. Most of the time when there is fake news, the real news outlets try to correct it but ultimately the real news will never surpass the fake news.
While fake news can be spread through a middle school, it can also be shown on a larger scale in the real world today. Take for example our last presidential election. There have been many social media accounts that misinterpret what a candidate like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton might say and thorough their misinterpretations they start to influence others to believe in their fake news. There also might be people making up stories that might seem true, but are untrue. For example, there was a fake news story that spread amongst the internet and it lead a North Carolina man to show up at the local pizzeria with an assault rifle because he believed false news reports about the restaurant operating a child sex ring orchestrated by Clinton. While the story itself might seem farfetched, there is no doubt that some people will fall victim to fraudulent news stories. Millions of people are connected to each other and news stories can spread like wildfire.
The key to surviving both middle school and the real world is to be able to decipher whether or not the news you are reading or listening to is fake or real. If you feel skeptical about a story, the best thing you can do is look up the same story and find other people who have reported on it, and from your vast interpretations you can then decide on its validity. Some useful websites that you can use are factcheck.com, snopes.com, or politifact.com. So, social media is in fact very dangerous. It can be an outlet for rumors that are false and it can be very dangerous to many people since the fake news can spread so quickly.