Nov 30, 2016 06:50 AM EST

Social Media Is Developing 'Lazy Discourse': Faulty Content Handling, Misleading Information And Lack Of Sources Discouraging Proper Discussion

By JC Santos
Smartphones and Social Media
Social media at the center of the Internet: A network of misinformation based on image-centered messages without factual sources.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan Via Getty Images)

Social media is slowly becoming the replacement for TV. Social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter have spread misinformation without proper sources are encouraging "lazy discourse". Discourse based on information lacking evidence makes social media an inefficient source of news and research data.

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Review, social media is slowly killing discourse. Writing for MIT's column, Iranian-Canadian Media Analyst and Performance Artist Hossein Derakhshan said social network Facebook has algorithms that keep hoax stories at bay-- a feature yet to work perfectly. Derakhshan wrote that before the Iranian government imprisoned him for his online activism in Iran six years ago, the internet was "decentralized, text-centered and abundant with hyperlinks to source material."

He said the domination of social media had created "centralized and image-centered" content "embedded in pictures without links." This encourages "more feeling than thinking" according to Derakhshan.

The 2016 US Election is proof of Derakhshan's statement. According to BuzzFeed, Facebook's copying of Twitter's "fast news cycle" had created "confirmation bias and set the stage for fake news." BuzzFeed News Reporter Alex Kantrowitz said Facebook "allowed political-meme-makers, sensationalists, and fake news purveyors to thrive." Kantrowitz presupposed that it possibly had influenced the US election's outcome.

Social media as a platform allows people to share their ideas and insights. For many, social media has become an "echo chamber"-- a place where people with similar ideas as you confirm your bias. No one in the network will contrast an idea of the other. If someone contrasts anyone in the "echo chamber" and with evidence, people in the "echo chamber" could show evidence of cognitive dissonance -- believing something to be true without any evidence -- upon reaction.

Everyone is reminded that social media is a tool for connecting with your friends, colleagues and your family. Be careful about what you share in social media as well.

It will never be an accurate source of information. Search engines, blogs with factual content and news websites will always be best sources of information that would aid any discourse.

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