Election time Don’t trust Social Media
A lot of things drive me crazy. Over the years, they must have added up, because by now, I’m probably certifiable. One of the big crazy-makers has been Social Media. In a nutshell, it gives all the crazies in the world a platform on which they can spout either their insanity or lies as they pertain to local politics. Worst part is, too many people automatically believe what they see posted on, say, Facebook.
In my opinion, all of the social media platforms should be liable for libelous, slanderous stuff that gets posted. Typically, by anonymous people with few social skills.
Election time is the worst time of the season for the seekers of truth. Instead of having a legit news source that vets news before it’s published (in most cases) where would-be voters can read the truth, too many people look at Facebook, or watch a Youtube vid, and take it in at face value. From that bit of fabricated news, some decide for whom to vote. Our elective process at work.
I have little respect for the local businesses who advertise on a social media platform without at least giving legit news sources in this county – newspapers, radio, TV, magazines – at least a small piece of their advertising budget. When they have an event, however, they’ll call the legit news sources. “Hey, we just gave X dollars to this charity. Can you run a photo and a story for us?”
Uh, no. Send it to Facebook and see how if Mark Zuckerberg will run your press release for free. Good luck. Or Youtube, or wherever. Just leave me alone. When local news dries up (granted, it never will entirely), and the only means by which people have to stay informed are the amateur posts they see on social media, good luck with that.
Political season is the worst time to be following social media. Now, granted, not all FB pages are bad, as long as they have the public information to support what they’re saying about this or that candidate or slate. Unfortunately, too many do not. They simply wing it. Write some tripe, some BS, some outright lies, and too many ignorant people believe it and run with it, sharing with other folks who lack a thinking brain. Weird thing is, it only takes a few minutes to vet something with the amount of information available online. Not always, but if you can’t prove that what some anonymous source is posting about a politician, then how can it be believed?
Gossip isn’t good, but it’s worse online because it’s shared too often, with too much speed. If it’s an outright lie, before dinner time, too many people have already seen it, read it, provided they can read and aren’t simply “picture people,” and they’ve shared it with friends and relatives.
Anyway, it’s been a long day, I’m tired, but I figured I had a few minutes to spare to remind thinking people this one simple fact: unless something posted online by an anonymous source is backed up with public documents attached to the post (a vote taken by a city commission, for example), or a criminal file tied to a particular candidate, don’t take it to heart without doing some more investigation on your own.
Of course, that’s what legit news sources are for. We actually do the work to make sure that what we publish is actually the truth. We don’t always bat a thousand, but we do try. We’re not a gossip rag, unlike Facebook has allowed itself to become, even though it announced earlier this month that it will ban all political ads one week before election day. Big deal. It won’t ban libelous gossip that can ruin a person’s life, career, and standing in the community.
Meanwhile, it might behoove advertisers to remember one simple fact: local media outlets can’t operate without the support of local businesses. If you’re interested in staying informed on what’s really going on in this county and the RGV as a whole, spend less of your budget with Facebook, Youtube, and instead, spend at least a pittance with local media.
For those who still do, thank you.