The Social Media Age of Reporting News

In Liz Heron’s TED Talk, “How to Win the Internet“, she discusses the social media and age and how the way that news is breaking has changed just in the last decade. Heron works for Facebook and oversees news partnerships and focuses on the news feed and the information that we see.

A study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2015 reports that 63% of both Facebook and Twitter users use the platforms as sources of news and events occurring around them. The differences between the two are that people use Twitter more to keep up with live, current updates and Facebook to share the news and to express more of an opinion.

Heron’s talk and the study conducted both exhibit this drastic change from a world where we didn’t hear the news right away, to a time where we can find out what is happening by the touch of a button. Heron talks about how journalists are having to keep up to date more on current events due to the fact that now everyone with a social media account can report the news. In a different sense, eyewitness accounts or reports from Twitter or Facebook users can also be beneficial to a news story by providing it with a description from someone that experienced it as well. Journalists do have to be careful not to believe everything that is reported and a good way to do this is to contact the social media user and check for credibility.

A problem with everyone being able to post and report the news is that it can lead to a number of hoaxes or scams that provide false news. There is a constant stream of news articles or blog posts about events that have never occurred that are liked, shared, retweeted, and favorited due to the fact that people are easily susceptible to information that is provided to them on the Internet. Anyone has the ability to create a fake news story and share it. It is a whole new form of starting rumors that people with a social media account will believe. Heron stresses the fact that people shouldn’t always believe everything that they see online and that it is just as easy to Google search the material to check for validity, as it is to press the share or retweet button to draw in more believers. In a current era where everyone can post about the news and share their opinion, it is important for people to look at all sides of the story to see what is accurate.

 

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