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Accuracy in today’s like-and-share culture

Everyone knows how easy it is to jump on Instagram and share content, whether it’s the darty you went to this weekend or the political cause you care about. But like how the images in your feed could be weeks old or edited to perfection, content across social media can’t always be taken at face value as fact.
Whether it’s TikTok or Facebook, algorithms prioritize content in feeds based on engagement. Liking, sharing, commenting and even rewatching a post all contribute to whether the algorithm will push the post into more people’s feeds. Little consideration continues to be made to whether the content itself is true.
It makes sense then that in today’s like-and-share culture, accuracy can be hard to come by. Sources may not be verified, and opinions can be disguised as facts. Most of the time, those contributing to the problem by engaging with the content aren’t aware that what they’re sharing is untrue. Neither is the person who passively intakes the information as they’re scrolling through their feed without considering the source at hand.
The problem of misinformation is unlike what we have experienced in the past. Despite the First Amendment, knowingly publishing false information is a crime. That’s libel. It’s easy if it’s The New York Times, but what about an anonymous online account? And while libel is a crime, is there an expectation that these platforms should police the content or that the police themselves should?
Whether social media platforms should police their users’ content is the question of the hour, given the potential implications for free speech. But if accuracy is the deciding factor, some action may be overdue.
David Ferrara is a senior economics and philosophy major from Shelton, Connecticut. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter, @davidferrara23.

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