Holding your tongue on Facebook

Emily Gibbens, Opinion Editor

Many people my age say Facebook is outdated or it’s for “old people,” but I use Facebook as a tool for many things every day. I’m able to look at what my family and old friends are up to, I share my articles for everyone back home to read and I share things that I think are funny, like memes or videos. Every once in awhile, those memes and videos are political.

Whether I’m sharing a silly video about Hillary Clinton, a Donald Trump meme or a serious article about politics in America, I’m never looking to offend anyone or get into an argument. I’m simply passing on something that made me laugh. I don’t take memes and poorly edited videos seriously, and neither should anyone else.

I don’t care who you voted for or who you support, but it is rarely ever necessary to bombard the comment section of an acquaintance’s post with a novel looking to pick a fight on Facebook.

— Emily Gibbens

That is why it baffles me when I see the same people commenting multiple paragraphs on just about any political post on Facebook I come across, whether the post is serious or completely for humor.

I don’t care who you voted for or who you support, but it is rarely ever necessary to bombard the comment section of an acquaintance’s post with a novel looking to pick a fight.

Disagreeing with someone is fine. I’m not asking you to agree with everything you see on Facebook. I just want to point out that no matter how much time and research you put into your lengthy comment, you are not going to change anybody’s mind.

Many say Facebook isn’t a place for politics at all, which I somewhat agree with. Although I’m truly never looking to have a debate with anyone about anything on Facebook, I do share articles and posts about politics if I think they are important or interesting. I am willing to have an open-minded discussion with someone, but when it results in insults or condescending remarks.

Yes, I share political articles, but that being said, I do not share every article I see that shines a positive light on politicians I like without doing my research. There is an extremely large amount of fake news circulating the Internet, especially on a social media platform like Facebook. Before you share anything, consider the source.

“It should be obvious that a ‘news source’ with a political identifier in the name isn’t news at all, it’s commentary,” Matt Eidson, the Dakota Student news editor, said.

Of course Conservative News will only share what makes the right side look good and Occupy Democrats will do the same in favor of the left. The extreme bias on social media is way out of hand, and the fact everyone is so easily influenced is frightening.

Sharing inaccurate, unclear articles makes you part of the problem. You’re passing the fake news on and it spreads like wildfire.

It isn’t just social media users faults though. It can be extremely difficult to tell what is real news and what is completely made up. Although it is difficult, Americans claim they are quite confident in their ability to separate the real from the fake. It is shown in an article on journalism.org that 84 percent of Americans are at least somewhat confident they can tell the difference.

Personally, I believe those interviewed individuals are overconfident in their abilities. If 84 percent truly knew the difference, fake news wouldn’t be plastered everywhere you look.

Do what you want with your social media, but keep in mind not everything you read is true and usually only trolls are looking to pick fights on Facebook.

Emily Gibbens is the opinion editor for the  The Dakota Student. She can be reached at  [email protected]