I am seriously thinking of unplugging from social media lately. Waaayyy too many crazy, unfounded claims and bits of information, most connected to politics. Such a need for drama it seems; has society become addicted to drama? As a librarian, I feel a need to set the record straight when I see these, but I also know that engaging with such Facebook posts will only cause me to receive more! What to do?
This is such a problem that the World Economic Forum declared the online spread of misinformation to be a form of “digital wildfire,” and one of the main threats to global society. As librarians we understand the power of information, but it rises to a new level for me as I read about a team of researchers who have conducted a five-year-long study on a wide range of Facebook users in a quest to find out how misinformation blossoms online. If echo chambers, trolling pages and confirmation bias appeal to you, please read the following results from the study.
Wondering how to check outrageous claims to see if they are true? See our earlier blog post: Do You Really Know the Truth? Snopes Field Guide.
Image credit: https://unsplash.com/ (Irene Dávila), licensed under CC0 1.0