Everyone had to run the gauntlet of fake pregnancy posts on social media sites April 1, more commonly known as April Fools’ Day.
Social media is a resource everyone can access easily, but that doesn’t mean it can be trusted. The likes of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and even Reddit are being used by unfathomable amounts of people each day. Unrestricted, free media being posted on a daily basis in forms such as status updates, tweets and pins all garner attention and are used to communicate.
Instant media updates can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, the instant coverage could benefit the consumer. On the other hand, the validity of the work comes into question.
White lies on the Internet often are seen as childish pranks, but they also can become detrimental when large enough groups of people mistake the lie for fact. “Not everybody is truthful on the Internet,” said Haley Le, a forensic science/criminal justice major.
Students seem to be skeptical of social media; almost a complete distrust is maintained at all times as a protective barrier.
However, if Amarillo College or the Amarillo Globe-News make updates on social media sites, student Tyla Giromini said, “At least you know that it’s not a post from somebody who sits on their Facebook page.”
Students believe websites that are run by news publications and sources with great amounts of credentials. “Their posts are official,” said Jessie Soto, a computer science major. “They have to follow guidelines.”
Students view social media sites mainly as entertainment rather than as valid sources of news. Sites such as Reddit, Instagram and Pintrest are predominantly entertainment-based. Posting funny pictures of cats and other oddities is expected on those sites.
On Facebook and Twitter, however, news and other stories can be partially legitimate. Because of the quick uploads and instant updates, news can be viewed at faster rates. Weather and traffic conditions can be reported quickly, and their followers receive them instantly.
Research and credibility are what most social media sites lack. Pranks and false leaks of media run rampant across the Internet in frantic hopes of catching readers off guard with sweet lies.
The saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” comes to mind. In order to stay safe while surfing the Internet, always double-check the sources of an article and take everything you read with a grain of salt. If possible, do research on the topic discussed and look up related articles on the subject.