General Question

funkdaddy's avatar

How do you deal with misinformation on social networks?

Asked by funkdaddy (17772points) September 9th, 2013
20 responses
“Great Question” (4points)

Do you think you should correct “friends” who post something as fact that is either a misinterpretation of the source they link to or a fabrication made up by someone else?

Some recent examples would be
» Stories about Obama firing Cattle Guards
» A post based on this story in the Daily Mail saying that since the arctic ice caps are 60% larger on a date than they were last year scientists are sensationalizing global warming and just “chasing dollars”. Also includes a misinterpretation of the statistics presented.

I’m not interested in arguing with folks, embarrassing anyone, or making people uncomfortable. These just seem different than opinions and seeing them presented and affirmed as fact bothers me I guess. Social networks are such a powerful medium because they come with an element of endorsement from whoever is posting.

Do incorrect facts bother you online? How have you (personally) decided to handle things like this? Does it matter who’s post it is? Does everyone need a soapbox no matter how wrong and should be left alone?

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Answers

syz's avatar

It depends. There are people (and family members) who are so firmly entrenched and proud of their own ignorance that I just either hide or unfriend them. Those that have been duped by satire or otherwise just don’t seem to realize that there’s another story, I’ll do a little research and find sources for them. (Snopes is handy.)

syz (35649points)“Great Answer” (7points)
Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I’ve given up sharing correct information with people who are unwilling to consider alternative views and the sources of information for them. It is a thankless task. People proud of their ignorance are certainly not worth my time and effort.

Seek's avatar

I argued politics on facebook for a while. Gave it up.

Now I only point out glaring inaccuracies. And even then people get all butthurt about it.

Most recently my hubby’s aunt reposted a graphic of two moons that started Mars would appear as large as the moon on one night in late August. It had several “likes” and a few excited sounding comments. So I posted that they might not want to stay up for that, as Mars would be behind the sun at that point, and no one would be able to see it at all, much less big enough to throw off the earth’s gravity and cause an Apocalypse.

No likes or comments on that…

livelaughlove21's avatar

Inaccuracies on Facebook drive me absolutely mad. I live in a red state, so I hear a lot about how Obama is the anti-Christ. I swear, people will believe anything they read as long as it fits their preconceived opinion. Last weekend my sister-in-law shared a post that said Obama was advocating to include “post-birth abortions” to be covered under Obamacare. If a child, up to the age of three, is unwanted by the parents, those parent can legally kill their child with no negative repercussions.

…REALLY?! Who would really believe that? I just had to jump in on that one and correct her, not that it changed anything.

I try to ignore these things unless it’s just so obviously incorrect that I can’t help myself. When I do speak up, it’s usually only with an article disproving what they said.

gambitking's avatar

It really depends on the subject matter, and yes it does depend on who posted it – not for the sake of credibility but rather to help you decide what you’d like to do in each instance.

For example, if you have a sensitive family member posting things that aren’t true, you would handle it with ‘kid gloves’. But a good friend you can speak bluntly to might actually appreciate you calling out a hoax.

As far as credibility of sources, there’s really almost no source credible enough that you can just automatically believe it. Especially those in your “friends” list, but also I’d go so far as to lump media outlets into that category.

There are myriad examples around the web that show how foolish some media outlets can be when shooting from the hip on a hot story, which later turns out to be bogus – or even designed to mislead the media and dupe them into looking stupid.

I have always been carefully skeptical yet open minded, leaning heavily on research and common sense in every case possible, and that’s how you sort through the BS on the internet. The vast casual internet-using community is not like that, and so they may need a little hand holding. For them, I’m usually not opposed to slapping a Snopes link in the comments here and there. Just pick your battles.

keobooks's avatar

I usually just ignore it or I post the snopes site. But most of the people that post this stuff, I’ve already officially ignored them on FB. They are still my friends, but nothing in their feeds show up anymore.

Sunny2's avatar

Best solution is to avoid these breeders of non-facts. Find some place else to play. Like here.

1TubeGuru's avatar

I like to put up citation that disproves false stories just to set the record straight.

augustlan's avatar

I generally don’t argue (anymore), but I nearly always post a link to Snopes or another source that explains the truth. I just drop the link and leave. I no longer have much hope of changing the mind of the person who posts the misinformation, but I can’t leave it sitting there unchallenged. It’s about all the other people who are reading what they posted. Particularly young people.

josie's avatar

These are examples of misinformation that annoy you.
What if it is misinformation that you love?

augustlan's avatar

I still post the truth, when I know it’s false. Even if I wish it were true.

josie's avatar

@augustlan
Is that sort of like posting something false, when you know it is true. Even if you wish it were false?

augustlan's avatar

Ha, I see I wasn’t very clear. Let me try that again:

If someone posts something I know to be false, I link to the truth. Even when the false information would make me happy, if it were actually true.

LuckyGuy's avatar

~ I’m kind of liking that post-birth abortion idea. But why limit it to 3 year olds? Any chance it can be extended to include surly teenagers?

KNOWITALL's avatar

Sometimes I correct but usually ignore. It’s fun to see what people post or like & I want THEIR truths, I know my own.

nikipedia's avatar

Good question, I was just thinking about this—a facebook friend recently commented that her kids aren’t vaccinated because there’s no evidence vaccines even work. I can’t even…

I like @augustlan‘s link drop idea. Other than that I’m not sure there’s any point in trying to correct these people. If they were interested in facts they probably wouldn’t be posting misinformation to begin with.

hearkat's avatar

If it’s a post by a friend whom I’d rather not see them make an ass of themselves, then I will post links to the truth. Sometimes when I see a false meme going around, like an animal shelter is closing so they’re gonna euthanize bajillion a of animals and such, I’ll keep a browser tab with the correct info open for a while so it’s ready to copy-and-paste.

flip86's avatar

I always post a link to Snopes. They can choose to read it or not, but at least I tried.

JakePark's avatar

Correcting people, especially in a social and public arena like Facebook, is huge breach of etiquette and a surefire way to make people hate you. If you want to let them know they might be mistaken, tell them privately, or better yet, express interested and suggest that you should do some research together. This helps them learn, saves them face, and keeps them from hating you.

augustlan's avatar

I recently broke my “drop the link and leave” rule. My aunt posted something absolutely hideous on FB, and I stuck around and argued. We’ll see how this all turns out.

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