Ask Yourself Before You Share

 Ask Yourself Before You Share

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“You can hear rumors. But you can’t know them.”
― Jay AsherThirteen Reasons Why

Have you ever experienced the time when Facebook or other social media platforms disseminate nonsense information and people share it without checking whether it’s true or not? And when you see that does it irritate you? Or are you one of those people who participate in disseminating these false rumors as well? Let’s give this an elaboration.

As the popularity of social media rules over our society, it has altered the way today’s information is disseminating. Social media has now become a major platform for spreading false rumors worldwide and this had gone over control.

Here is the example of rumors that had gone worldwide in 2014. (http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/missing-jet/social-media-spread-false-reports-safe-landing-n48081)

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The news about the missing jet of Malaysia Airlines, MH370, on March 8th 2014, Twitter users had tweeted regarding about what was happening to this aircraft. One Twitter user tweeted that he had “some inside news from a pilot uncle that MH370 has emergency landed somewhere in China! Hope everyone is safe.” This rumor was spreading widely among social media for a while until both Malaysian Airlines officials and the Chinese government later stated that the safe landing rumors were false. Other false rumors were also there such as; the plane was being high jacked or the plane had run out of fuel and crashed somewhere in Malaysia.

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Are you one of those people who believed in this fake information and click ‘share’? I believe there was at least one. Social media users often jumped into conclusion assuming that these were all true. Some usually share only those things that they agree without checking the facts. Some people may argue that without social media sources, we cannot receive the information as instantaneously as the event happens. It’s true that. But, with them, we are also open to misleading, false information that is now considered to be one of main difficulties in society.

“A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on.”
― Terry PratchettThe Truth

However, there is a simple way to prevent this false information from spreading. Here are 5 questions we need to ask ourselves every time we come across a story that we think we might want to share with our online friends suggested by Luke O’Neil, a journalist for the Boston Globe and Boston Phoenix, and the author of the book Drinking and Diving in Beantown.

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1st , “Who is telling the story?” – Ask ourselves where all this information comes from. Look at the source to determine its credibility. If we have never heard of the source before, then it’s most likely to be false.

2nd, “What is the story about?” – Read beyond the headlines. It’s quite common for some people just to hit ‘share’ without even clicking through to read the full article. If the story seems too good to be true, or too bad to actually happen, go to Google – your teacher- , to see if you can find a reliable second source or not.

3rd, “When did the story happen?” – We should look at the date to see when the post is published in order to avoid excitement over something that might have happened many years before.

4th, “Where did the story happen?” – We should ask ourselves if it happened in another country and, if the answer is yes, we should find out how the publisher knows what is going on over there. This may seem to be a harsh judgment yet it is doubtful that a person within the same boundaries as we are could report the event like he/she is really in the same place where that event happens.

5th, “Why is this story being shared?” – This is an important question as some stories are purposely made up merely for the sharers. We have already determined that people usually share only those things that they agree with, sometimes without even checking the facts, so we should consider the inherent news value before we decide to share it.

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Take a moment to consider all these five questions before hitting the share button because it won’t just save us from being embarrassed online, but it will also make the online information platform a better place. Eliminating the use of false information and learning to use social media as efficiently as possible are important. It is not just for the benefit of individual users but it is an effective way to direct information that can benefit society as a whole.

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