Has Facebook Affected the Way We Perceive News Stories?

I love Adam Curtis, the documentary filmmaker who questions how well computers have really improved the world and has called Twitter   “self-aggrandizing, smug pressure group” that promotes a “narrow non-social view of the world” Watch his documentary All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (linked above) to get a much broader understanding of his criticisms. 

That being said, I also think that online social networking has the ability to turn into a tool that allows people to send and receive a broader range of information without any form of repression.

Unfortunately, that isn’t really what we have right now. Curtis is more right than we might like to think.

For me, that’s largely because of the way that fraudulent and intentionally inaccurate posts have changed the way that we, as a society, perceive news stories. A good dose of skepticism and critical thought has always been helpful when reading the news, but today it’s like we have branched into two types of humans: one that doesn’t believe anything at all, and one that will believe anything at all.

In a recent lecture at the Edinburgh Festival of Politics, Dr. Andy Williamson took a slightly different approach. Not only do fraudulent posts affect the way that Internet users view the world, but there is also a problem that comes from the way professional journalists use these online tools. Much too often, they use them inexpertly. In Williamson’s words

journalists still place too much emphasis on the tools they value, particularly Twitter, demonstrating poorer understanding of other tools, such as Facebook.

In other words: they don’t know what they’re doing, but they’re doing it anyway.

This combination of intentional fraud and professional bumbling has, I think, had some serious effects on the way that I perceive news updates.

Do you have a similar experience? What do you think when you see news posts on Facebook?

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~ by facebookhoaxes on July 9, 2011.

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