Gone are the days of sitting in front of the TV during the news. I remember growing up in Puerto Rico and purchasing the paper to get the news every morning on our way to school. No one in my family sits down to read the paper anymore, and based on my conversations with my friends, I doubt they still sit to read the paper or watch the news.
Almost everyone in my generation can agree that we get our news from social media sites. There are many pros to this approach to getting our news. It is right at our fingertips; we do not have to purchase a separate paper or sit down waiting between ads to watch the live news.
However, the problem with getting our news via social media is the high amounts of misinformation and disinformation that cloud the real news. While scrolling through Facebook, I have noticed that when a piece shared by someone seems suspicious, Facebook will do a fact-check and include a link to verified information so the user can decide whether to believe the original post or not.
I believe Facebook is doing a great job by adding that feature, but is it Facebook’s responsibility to flag and give us correct information? An article from Cornell University found that Americans want media corporations responsible for sorting through the things shared and ensuring we receive accurate information.
This finding then raises the question of freedom of speech. If media corporations were to stop every post they deemed “fake,” that could go against freedom of speech and impede some from sharing their opinions.
According to an article by Reuters Institute, there are ways in which governments can pass laws that would enable media corporations to stop the spread of mis/disinformation and still protect free speech.
I believe that a compromise could be met. Because we all have access to the internet, our opinions should have a space out there. However, if a site detects that misinformation is being spread, they could attach a warning and let the user decide to look up more information.
This solution continues to become difficult to achieve because social media users can not agree on who should stop the spread of misinformation. As presented in an article by Poynter, some believe we should be on the lookout for false news; others believe it is the government, and others place the responsibility on media corporations.
Because false information affects us all, I believe the government can create laws that allow social media sites to share all information we post and, at the same time, offer additional assistance if false information is detected. This way, we can protect our free speech and be aware of the information we come across online.