Today more than ever Social media is prevalent in the lives of teens and young adults. We use social media to stay connected with friends, entertain ourselves, and build a digital profile. What we tend to over look is how we use social media to receive our news today. Whether it is the score of last nights Yankee game or the presidential election, many people are using social media as a platform to stay up to date with what is going on in the world. It seems that digital news has taken over the newspaper in today’s generation, and this is one of the ways it is happening.
Business insider explains that Generation Z, teens ages 13-18 are consuming nearly nine hours of entertainment media. A good portion of this is used checking the news. One reason teens are using social media to obtain their news today is that these apps help them stay up to date on current events. Apps such as Twitter and Snapchat present news to you even if you do not look it up. Teens are not looking for specific articles or news sites but will go on apps that have already chosen the news for them. Teens enjoy using apps to consume their news because they can share it with their friends as well. They may find an article or breaking news that they want to get to their friends and social media makes this possible. There is an ease and accessibility to news on social media and this is what teens are looking for.
Another big reason for teens using social media as a platform for news is it contains a wide variety of news. Business insider interviewed teens on how they choose certain types of news brought up to them and one explained “”My favorite Snapchat story is the Cosmo one because they’re usually relat[ed] to feminism, and today for example, it had a story about the [Stanford] rape case. “Every single one of my friends reads it too in the morning.” Isabella, 15, who does this on a daily basis, is like many other people using Snapchat as a form of news. Variety survey results showed that 44% of Snapchatters use their live story and discover features at least once a day. 30% of these users used this as their primary way to get information about the 2016 presidential election.
One issue with using social media as a news platform, and one of the reasons people still choose to use traditional methods of obtaining news is the possibility of receiving fake news. Social Media is a place where anyone can put information out. Sites such as Instagram and Twitter have many unreliable accounts that spread rumors that are not true. As we discussed in class, this is why it is important to make sure we are going through the correct steps to make sure we gaining information from reliable sources. I believe that Snapchat does a good job of this because they are only using sources that are known for their credibility. A few of these sources include Vice News, NBC, and Sportscenter, which have a long history of giving credible news.
What is very interesting about this topic and why I believe it deserves our attention for years to come is people are starting to understand the impact that social media news has on our world today, and the impact that the fake news it may present has as well. An article from CNBC explains that Brussels is now starting to take action on social media companies that have been accused of spreading fake news. They feel issues such as the Facebook data leak are a threat and “subvert our democratic systems.” The Cambridge Analytica scandal has concerned them that disinformation can be spread to vulnerable voters and have a negative impact on the outcome of their upcoming European parliament elections. European Commissioner of Security explains, “It is clear that the cyber-security threat we are facing is changing from one primarily targeting systems to one that is also increasingly about deploying cyber means to manipulate behaviour, deepen societal divides, subvert our democratic systems and raise questions about our democratic institutions.” With the increasing use of Social Media today, especially by the means we obtain our news, I think that this is something that is very important. We must take steps to clear unreliable sources that can influence some of the biggest aspects of our world today, especially if we are going to continue to use this as on our primary sources of information.
Godlewski, N. (2016, June 21). Teens are getting almost all of their news from Snapchat and Twitter these days. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/how-do-teens-get-news-2016-6
Khan, M. (2018, April 02). EU plans to crack down on ‘fake news’ in social media. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/02/eu-plans-to-crack-down-on-fake-news-in-social-media.html