Stop Sharing Fake Political Crap on FacebookNovember 02, 2016
As Facebook assumes the role of our public forum, most people currently see their walls cluttered with posts about the election. I don't mind people sharing their thoughts. That's part of a healthy democracy. But I'm tired of people posting inaccurate "news" items from unreliable websites.
As long as we agree on the facts, we can have a healthy conversation even when disagreeing on interpretation. For instance, we can disagree on whether Donald Trump is right that we should build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border or whether Hillary Clinton is right that we should welcome more Syrian refugees. But if we disagree about what is even true, then we have a real problem.
My Ph.D. is in political communication. And I've covered lots of political events as a credentialed journalist, including several presidential candidate rallies, a nominating convention, a presidential debate, and more. So I find it particularly concerning when people try to rig the news with fake stories.
- If a site is always posting bad news about one party and good news about the other, it's a biased site that shouldn't be trusted.
- If you google a story (before sharing it on Facebook) and find it's been debunked, it's a likely biased site that shouldn't be trusted.
- If you google a story and find no coverage from mainstream news outlets (like Washington Post, NPR, Politico, etc.), it's likely a biased site that shouldn't be trusted.
"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves," Jesus warned. "Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."
As we share false stories, we join the wolves. If you're not sure if a story you see online is true, don't post it. Just put up a photo of your kid or grandkid or dog or something cute. We could really use more cuteness right now anyway.
Oh, and this post is completely true, so please post it (and feel free to tag your friends who need this advice)!