Social media poll finds what most think
A recent poll released by NBC News/Wall Street Journal probably wasn’t a surprise to most of us. Out earlier this month, it found that most Americans believe social media are more likely to spread lies and false information than genuine news and information.
The poll released April 5 said 57 percent of Americans believe social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter do more to divide the country. Fifty-five percent said social networks spread untruths. And a whopping 60 percent don’t trust Facebook to protect personal information.
It’s no secret these companies collect personal data via social media posts, and give it to advertisers to target that user to sell something—do you really think they share that info for free?
The poll was likely generated after recent scandals showing social media, especially Facebook, has been “selective” in what news it puts up on its feed, as well as refusing to run some advertising that most of the time was conservative in nature. How about the last presidential campaign and the political bias experienced by some on the right?
The poll’s results are no surprise to us in print media, who must cite credible sources and have laws that can put reporters in jail for writing untruths if we know the information is untrue at the time it’s written. Have you heard of libel?
Those laws don’t exist for social media outlets at this time. Hopefully, something can be done about that, but there is strong opposition from social media companies—no doubt because it would then force them to be more responsible and careful, and that takes time.
What’s most disheartening, however, about the poll cited above is that despite these thoughts and feelings, 69 percent are still using social media once a day (it didn’t say for how long each day). That’s even after the vast majority—82 percent— said social media sites do more to waste time than believing it’s time well-spent.
I’ve come to agree with the time-well-spent opinion. I dropped my Facebook account months ago, and haven’t missed it a bit.