Thanks to the Internet and social media, we often hear about news a lot sooner than we would have a generation ago. That’s because the first person to learn about a news story can tell everyone they know, right away – and they can tell everyone they know – and pretty soon everybody’s heard the news. But if something in one of those stories is wrong – or the whole story is false – that misinformation can spread just as quickly. Sometimes misinformation can be more “viral” than the truth: for example, in the 2016 U.S. election, false news stories were more widely spread than real ones. That’s why it’s important to pause for a moment when you’re about to pass a news story or some other urgent information on to your friends, and to make sure that it’s accurate and up-to-date.
1] Silverman, Craig. “Real News on Facebook.” BuzzFeed, November 2016. <https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/viral-fake-election-news-outperformed-real-news-on-facebook>