Social media getting to the news first; spreading lies


Maci Lesh

Instagram allows plenty of unreliable new sources to fill people’s screens.

Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and so much more. In every direction, screens are filled with the roaring, biased, and fake posts that pass as ‘news’ in modern society. Upon opening almost any social media, my screen blares, informing me of what’s going on in the world, and chances are, I accept it as fact, and move on with my life.  So do many other Arvada West students. 

According to a poll from Arvada West students and families, 84% get their news from social media. This doesn’t just apply to A-West. In an article by Forbes, “Social media has become the main source of news online with more than 2.4 billion internet users, nearly 64.5 percent receive breaking news from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram instead of traditional media.”

News coming from social media has become a growing problem that needs to be addressed. More and more, people get their information from sources that aren’t legitimate. It spreads fake news and illegitimate information. NBC has written an article about this. “Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information, and the effects were more pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends, or financial information,’ the team’, led by Sinan Aral of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in the journal Science.”

Kelly Granfield, activities director at A-West, thinks, “Deciphering out the fake with the real, that’s the problem with it. So then when you see what’s really real on there, you question it because you’ve seen other stuff that’s not true.”

Twitter has a section of its website dedicated to ‘News,’ though what they consider ‘news’ is debatable. (Maci Lesh)

Some people might say that with so many news sources, it’s hard to distinguish and know what the ‘best source’ is. Major news sources have gone from just being The New York Times and the Washington Post, especially since the transition from newspaper to online news. Readers find options with strong political controversies like Fox and CNN, with plenty of places in between like ABC, NBC, AP, BBC, CBS, NPR, USA Today, The Guardian, etc. So many places that are all saying slightly different information. This is a problem in and of itself, but reading slightly different information from the dozens of arguable ‘reliable’ sources is much better than solely focusing on something like Twitter or Facebook. 

Granfield says, “The local news has good stuff. I just feel like some of that, you know is biased based on which station, which paper. So, I think the best thing, which nobody really has time for, is it to find it all and see what you think.”

Finding common information and facts from several sources is the best way to ensure you have accurate information. But not everybody is willing to put in that time, so instead, they open Twitter or Instagram and take whatever they read as gospel. This spreads misinformation and contributes to biased news and fuels the flames for more political and social controversy. 

So today is the day that when a notification pops up when you scroll onto this Instagram post, there will be an active decision to go out and find real research. To choose to take part in our world and the events happening in it.