Why We Need to Stop Online Fake News

Rhetorics

Why is there a need to “take care before we share” in social media? Why is it crucial to spread only true information online? Why is it important to end “fake” news in the internet community?

It is because truth is one of the common ties of society, in physical or virtual setting, and absence of it will result to confusion and disintegration.

Social media sites have immensely facilitated the sharing of ideas among different communities worldwide. One of its greatest achievement is tearing down geographical barriers by building virtual networks for people to connect seamlessly. Unfortunately, it is also being misused as an avenue for, among others, hoax news, mis- and disinformation, and propaganda.

This exploitation of media platforms has become too distressing, more than ever, during this pandemic. The surge of myths and bogus remedies against COVID-19 posted in social media has been impeding risk communication, and for the record, scholars cited that false news stories are 70 percent more likely to be retweeted than true stories are. It spreads faster, hence, likely to cause extensive damage.

Some culprits use social media for scare-mongering, slandering, or disrupting social order. I call them culprits because they destroy one of the common ties of society, the truth. Hence, we should take this menace seriously.

Regrettably, some people are fast to believe whatever they see in social media, perhaps out of desperation or inexperience. That being said, comes my second point why we need to “take care before we share” in social media. Users come from a myriad of ages, background and experience. Some audiences are vulnerable to disinformation, some are unsuspecting to black propaganda, some are susceptible to fall for false news. Thus, I’m calling everyone to become heroes and protect them by taking down and preventing the spread of fake news.

Facebook, the largest social networking platform, has taken action against this problem by implementing stringent measures to detect fake accounts and employing the help of third-party fact checking organizations. However, loopholes are still present where fake news unfurl. They cannot immediately take down hoax news stories, it may have already been shared at scale and correcting the false information among the masses is more arduous than how it was spread. Hence, fake news should be nipped in the bud. The users should bear the accountability to create and spread only true information.

I’m not against these sites, in fact, I’m a patron. Yet, the use of it must be balanced with responsibility. Fake news have already harmed individuals and communities, especially the vulnerable. It obscures truth. It hampers progress. It disintegrates society.

So, it must be stopped.

Photo credit: Unsplash

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