Misinformation on social media: What you should know before your scroll

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Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 5:07 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - With smartphones and social media at our fingertips, it can be hard to determine whether the content you see is real or fake.

A Texas Tech University professor and social media specialist has some advice about what you should be aware of before you open your favorite platforms.

Lisa Du Bois Low says, “Folks definitely lurk around the internet, and they want to sow discord and unfortunately, we have to understand that.”

Low says although most of us are aware that not everything we see on social media is true, the amount of content we see daily can be hard to filter.

“When you see something that might be frightening and may be looming in our community, absolutely we are going to be tempted to share that without fact-checking it,” Low said.

That is when misinformation tends to go viral, Low says. When you aimlessly share a post that may be fabricated or dishonest, you are opening yourself up to more misinformation.

“Understand the way algorithms work. Their basic function is to serve you content that you have already looked at. If you don’t think you want to be served that type of content, don’t click on it,” Low said.

Low teaches college students about social media every day, and she feels that young adults are very social media aware. Low says most misinformation posts are aimed at older generations.

“It is those older folks that don’t necessarily know that, hey fake news is actually real, it is not the type of news that you just don’t agree with, it really is fake,” Low said.

While social media can be a great source for information, Low recommends that everyone should limit their time on platforms and always fact-check articles before they hit that share button.

“We do need to understand that you perhaps are being manipulated, so I think we have to take more control of our personal habits on social media,” Low said.