Opinion: Social Media Activism Spreads Misinformation

Jacob Harris '21, pulse editor in chief

Social media has been filled with political content and advertising over the past few months. As I scroll through my feed, I often see students posting about their political views, attempting to influence others into changing their opinions. But most often, they’re just bashing those who don’t agree with them. Oftentimes, these students can’t even vote themselves. So, the question I often ask myself is what is this accomplishing?

As an American, I am all for First Amendment rights. Freedom of speech and expression are vital in our society. However, what I see on my social media feeds are many times not very productive for either side. What do you gain from posts just blasting either of the candidates? Nothing. People need to educate themselves outside of social media, because not everything out there is true. Society needs to learn to form their opinions based on facts and logic rather than what other people are telling them.

To add onto this, many people that I follow on social media aren’t over 18, and cannot actually vote in the upcoming elections. However, the posts from these people are often filled with flawed information or simply slanderous material. Whether this is a result of a lack of understanding or simply a lack of care, people on social media -especially those under the legal voting age- need to see that most of the time, the audience they are reaching won’t really be affected by their posts. That is not to say that social media is not a great way to influence people and create change, but in reality as a high school student not many of us can even vote. And myself, as someone who is able to vote, when I see posts on social media, I really kind of just ignore them. I can’t believe them all the time or trust those who are posting them, so why let them change my views when I can form my own opinions on candidates based on the facts I observe personally?

I remember witnessing kids getting into political debates in middle school. I knew those kids were just repeating what their parents were saying at home, with basically no comprehension of true global awareness. Obviously, kids grow up and form their own opinions, but you can still see the effect of parents with people in high school. It is coming to the point where we need to take into consideration as students what is best for us. Leaning on our parents for political guidance is obviously a great thing to have, but opinions shouldn’t just be based off of what others, even your relatives, are telling you.

If there is one thing to get out of this article it is this: become educated. Take the time to research, learn, form your own opinions. Politics is a very complicated subject. Nobody can get a full understanding of it just by a social media feed.