Western Courier

Think before sharing

Brenna Smtih

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As history unfolds around us with everything going on in the world, I have been utterly shocked to see how people are reacting on social media. People are sharing their opinions on every platform. However, it is not the sharing of opinions that is alarming to me; the senseless sharing of out-of-date articles is what worries me.

 After the attacks that took place last week, people began to share articles on Facebook and Twitter with the intent of spreading information about what was going on in the world. Typically, this is a good thing, because many people in our age range — for better or worse — get a good portion of their information on what’s happening in the world from things they see on social media.

 While shared articles on Facebook may not be the best way to learn about major issues facing our country and the world — watching the news or reading a newspaper is probably more informative — this practice usually is much better than being completely oblivious to major events. It’s better that people have some semblance of what’s happening, even if that means learning about it on Facebook, rather than blindly going through day-to-day life blissfully unaware of incredibly significant events going on around us.

 What worries me is the carelessness that seems to have arisen in sharing these articles on Facebook.

 Yesterday, I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw several friends sharing articles about ISIS, and writing on the post how worried they were about the information in the article and how their thoughts and prayers were with those affected by the things mentioned in the article. The problem was not the message written by the Facebook users to accompany the shared article, but the date of the articles themselves.

 Over the past few days, I have seen articles that are months — sometimes even years — out of date being shared all over Facebook and Twitter. The information in these articles is not necessarily inaccurate, but it is not current and therefore not necessarily directly related to current world events. Spreading these articles is fine, as they serve to educate others; sharing them without referencing the age of the articles, however, serves only to spread panic and outdated information.

 With everything happening in the world currently, it is incredibly important for people to stay informed and educated about what is happening. This means doing research, looking at multiple sources to get the whole picture, and sharing accurate and relevant information with those in your social circle.

 The key piece of sharing this information is to first verify that it is accurate. Educate yourself. Figure out what is actually going on before you blindly share a piece of “news” on Facebook. Don’t spread panic to your Facebook friends if the information is something completely out of date that for all you know might be handled by now.

 In the world of technology that we live in, the expedited sharing of information is both a blessing and a curse; take it upon yourself to make sure that you are only sharing accurate and timely information, because spreading information that is false and antiquated is not at all helpful. Take a critical look at what you’re sharing and when it was published. It is our job to educate ourselves to make sure that we know what’s happening, and spreading articles that do not contain the most correct information available is not conducive to becoming truly educated about world events.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Think before sharing