According to a recent study from Pew Research Center, 67 percent of Americans revealed that they get at least some of their news from social media. Of this 67 percent, 74 percent of individuals receive their news from Twitter — a value that has significantly increased since the election of President Donald Trump. In the era of "fake news," does there need to be more scrutiny on what news sources are trusted, or is social media just a convenient way to receive updates?

Prof. Jordan Pollack (COSI)

In the history of civilization, there has rarely been a free-to-publish system. Soapboxes had limited audiences, lost-dog flyers needed labor to draw and staple, pamphleteers had to pay for printing. Then came spam: Anyone can send you email without your permission. Suddenly free broadcast could be achieved for advertising (“Viagra with no prescription!”), chainmail (“forward this to everyone you know!”), pyramid schemes (“send $1 to the top name, add yours to the bottom, and get rich!”) and conspiracy theories (“Building 7…”). Computer Science was just coming to grips with how to inhibit global chaining phenomena when Twitter was invented.  It has evolved into permission-based spam where celebrity and outrage are more powerful than truth. Even if circuit-breaker technology can inhibit the spread of fake news, deranged individuals who can freely broadcast to millions are dangerous. Still, I'm supporting Katy Perry for President in 2020: She has 100m followers.

Jordan Pollack (COSI) is a professor of Computer Science. 

R Matthews ’19

I spend a lot of time on the internet, especially social media, and I understand completely why people are concerned about “fake news”, but we should be doing this already. Most news is biased in some way, and I feel as though people don’t do enough research on the news they are receiving or the sources they are getting it from. I feel as though not enough people do their due diligence when it comes to reading the news, regardless of what platform they get it from (online, social media, television, etc.).  I do my best to remind people that the media is inherently biased. All these companies are ultimately run by a person or group of people who share a certain belief system. These biases most definitely flow into their companies and make their way into the minds of the public without most of us realizing. So ultimately, I don’t think censoring or trying to control what news sources people see on the internet is going to be very helpful. What is more helpful is the public doing their research, doing their due diligence and filling in the pieces that news sources or the media may leave behind. 

R Matthews’ 19 is a Computer Science and African and Afro-American Studies double major. 

Farzana Parveen ’19

I feel like it’s fine receiving news on social media platforms. Everyone is on social media nowadays so news being provided on those keeps people updated on what’s going on in the world. I personally enjoy the news updates on Facebook, for example. It’s a nice way of being aware. News on social media is another way of advertisement. They are reaching a wider and younger audience. In our generation we don’t really watch the news on TV or read the papers. Technology has taken over and one way to reach out toward an audience is through social media platforms. People that would like to read more into news out of their own interest can look up relevant articles on other news sources. However, for most Americans, technology and social media are a part of our everyday life so receiving news on it is most convenient.

Farzana Parveen ’19 is a member of Brandeis Robotics. 

Alice Wu ’20

It is undeniable of the impact that social media has had on this generation. Content is constantly being uploaded in all social platforms. In fact, according to Fortunelords, 300 hours of video are being uploaded to YouTube every minute! The power of social media is a double edged sword. It may be beneficial to constantly be updated on current events, but it is not uncommon for information to be uncovered as “fake news.” As much as I would like to say there should be a measure to confirm that an article is from a credible source or trusted news, I know that it is not practical. People have grown accustomed to accessing information as soon as possible and adding an additional process would decrease revenue. Social media serves as a platform to update people. Although the information presented may not be the entire truth, the post encourages a discussion for people to talk about and debate.

Alice Wu ’20 is a Computer Science major.