School Closings & Delays

Social Media’s Influence on the Election

LACKAWANNA COUNTY -- Nearly one week after the election and there are questions about how much social media influenced the outcome.

Namely, what effect do false stories shared on Facebook or Twitter undercut the importance of accurate and unbiased news?

According to Pew Research, a majority of adults get their news from social media sites. When the news feed, the scrolling stream of information on your screen, includes the occasional false or misleading story what is someone like you or me to do?

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have come under scrutiny following the 2016 presidential election for the amount of fake news that showed up in people's news feeds.

The kinds of stories that painted one candidate or the other in not just a negative light but a flat out false spotlight.

Now, some media critics believe it's more important than ever for anyone who gets their information from social media to make sure it's up to snuff.

"The bad part of it is, there’s no vetting of information. Anyone with a cell phone, access to a computer, can put anything online," said Michael Mirabito who heads up the Communication Arts department at Marywood University. Mirabito took notice of the amount of deceptive Facebook posts that circulated in the lead up to last Tuesday's win for Donald Trump.

"If you have a popular social media outlet that’s not vetted in reality, based in reality, you might be influencing thousands of people who might take your information and put it on their blog or Facebook then it goes on and on and on," he added.

"One of the dangers of the internet is if you’re looking for it you can find it," said 94.3 Thr Talker General Manager Brian Spinelli who admits social media doesn't filter what readers or listeners see or hear.

"There is also what we would consider the fringe news sources people are getting that side by side in news feed," he said.

"People have to become more responsible in looking for the truth themselves," said Mirabito. "You need to know how to read the news to find out what’s accurate and what’s not accurate."

"There’s a lot of opportunity there to shape the stories or the opinions in that certain circumstance now with the ability to have social media, people get to see everything and I think that’s a good thing for our country," explained Spinelli.

3 comments

  • Meh

    try Assange’s influence on the election WNEP… still crying tho i see … hhahaha
    DRAIN THE SWAMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Robert

    Ahhh yes. Social Media? A way to make uninformed opinion respectable. That’s definitely one take on social media. Another?
    I find resemblance of this election with the French revolution. But, without the “pitchforks and torches”.
    And if we recall history…Napoleon emerged to lead their nation’s liberal policies. This time we have a “conservative”.
    I’m hoping there will be measurable a contrast.
    I will give Trump a chance.

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