How the integrity of your right to free speech is being bastardized on social media

In our busy world, social media is often regarded as connection on the go. We scroll through the data and select to “like, comment and share”  at will.  Within the social media interchange, is the ability to share political, social or ecological views with one touch.

Deceptively, in the mix with real news, there are opinion sites/blogs that generate posts that appear like factual articles. Often the information you share in good faith, is bastardizing the integrity of your views and personal causes.

How? Opinion blogs have taken the look & feel of reputable news-source information. These sites use a manipulative formula: viable news formatting + graphic/shock-photography +  passion-inciting language in headlines + hot topics.

The result? Capturing instant attention and evoking emotional responses of the reader. This often results in the reader believing the headline as truth & instantly sharing the information in support of their cause/ view/ political stance.

How to tell if you are being used :

1. Are you shocked?  A ploy of these sites will be to use a headline graphic with violent, aggressive, grotesque photos in a public view ( ie: Front page.) This is breaking a basic guideline of journalism ethics. I had a college professor in News Media advise that “if it bleeds, it does lead but to always defer to the Cheerios Rule when selecting that killer grabbing picture. ( the Cheerios Rule: if it will make someone puke up their breakfast, don’t put it on the front, where anyone can see it.)  Remember, If the piece is relying on your emotions and not facts, it’s NOT news.

2. Who published it? If the name source of the page is not known to you, check it out. Read the article. Look at the About Us on the page of the home site. Check the timeliness of the data sited.

3. Are there facts or are they telling you what to think?  If this is factual, the facts will stand alone without language that infers to agree with your personal views. Truth doesn’t need to feed your ego.

4. Polish : Is correct sentence structure used? Is the wording a bit janky? That is a sign that the data may be inaccurate. Frankly, if you cannot put the words together correctly, why would you put the information in there correctly?

5. Theme: These sites will rely on proving they align with your view by pointing out how the opposing view is wrong, while neglecting to support the headline. They pull the alarm of blaring injustice with NO indicated solution but a clearly stated “culprit”.  When you create a point by identifying an enemy, you forsake cause for a ravenous conviction in nothing.


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