This past Sunday, hit show The Good Wife focused on a professor who was being accused of planning a major bomb attack. What was interesting was that he was being called out for the heinous crime via a popular social network…
A couple of weeks ago, The Pew Research Center and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation jointly released a report/update regarding the percentage of users of each social network that are getting their news from said social media sites.
The report indicated that over 30% of the U.S. population read their news on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and the like.
In fact, it appears that even major, trusted, non-social media news outlets, like CNN, are tapping social media sites for breaking news!
But is the news that they are accessing actually correct?
Lately, sources are indicating that it isn’t and this might be cause for some concern.
For example, a recent study showed that nearly a third of the tweets surrounding the Boston bombings last April were inaccurate or contained some kind of spam message.
And how about the premature announcement of the death of U.S. Representative C.W. Bill Young last month?
Hideously embarrassing if nothing else…
Others point out that it isn’t the social media sites that are the problem here, but the public who are actually using the sites to “report” the news.
It seems that often everyday civilians will tap into police scanner activity and tweet unconfirmed information regarding unfolding events.
And how about the fact that there was sometimes misinformation in news reporting prior to the advent of social media?
The argument is often made that pre-Twitter, journalists were loath to report unconfirmed information.
Just watch one episode of HBO’s The Newsroom and you will see this in action.
But it definitely happened every once in a while.
Now, post-Twitter, the public is so accustomed to misinformation that the media report first and make apologies (and corrections) later.
Which obviously has the potential to create undue stress, anger and confusion.
So, I ask, should you be getting (and trusting) your news from Facebook or Twitter?
Personally, I would hesitate to do so, but do let us know your thoughts in the Comments below…