September 17, 2021

Combating Pseudoscience and Fake News in Social Media? Here’s Some Helpful Tips and Tricks

by Justin Johnson

In the age of digital age media, social media plays a pivotal role in the way people perceive news. Pseudoscience is one of the main topics that generate controversy around some of issues and topics that run rampant on social media. For example, major issues during the year 2020 and still through 2021 on social media, such as climate change and vaccines caused widespread of “fake news” and misinformation on social media. Not only is social media now considered a main stream form of media, but social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram houses pages for corporations and individuals who have massive following that influence their followers perception of information they are presenting. During COVID-19, there has been a widespread information that can be consumed as pseudoscience surrounding COVID-19 and the vaccine itself. Some people believe the vaccine will microchip people and is apart of Bill Gates new world order, some people believe the vaccine will implant something in you that gives you access to 5G, while all these theories run rampant this is all due to social media misinformation wildfires. When COVID-19 became a serious global issue for China, Twitter users from the United States were spreading propaganda that the coronavirus is a hoax to rig the USA election, per QAnon cultists that swept social media platforms by surprise. QAnon is one of the many groups, just like Anonymous that are big headed groups that build large following and able to spread propaganda to their followers. BUT, people are getting the vaccine, the amount of confirmed cases is decreasing, and events are on their way to a new normal. Fake news is a common used word but can really be seen in our average day to day lives on social media, to the point where we almost have to fact check everything we consume, rather the means reading a long Twitter thread searching the replies or actually googling and researching a story found on social media.

My goal isn’t to bash social media and its usages it for our society. My goal of this post is to make people aware that social media can be a useful tool and even science communications have utilized social media to combat against pseudoscience itself. There are a couple sick tricks and skills that people in general use when trying to consume media and want to authenticate it for legitimacy purposes. Here are some common ways to combat against fake news and trying to communicate effectively on social media:

Daily Tricks for Effectively Communicating: 

  • Make sure you double check your information, it doesn’t hurt to double check your facts to be on point. When wanting to communicate, you want to make sure your information is accurate and not fake news.
  • Present your information or facts in plain-English, using too much buff or not being transparent makes read question authenticity.
  • When conveying facts, make them very compelling and intriguing. A fact that interests a reader has them more intrigued one wanting to know more. It creates a aspect where readers focus on the human aspects of the information.
  • Emphasize and support your statement with sources, scientific information or research that backs the knowledge presented. 
  • STAY AWAY FROM HYPE AND FLUFF. When you present hype, it devalues the information and true aspects present in the information.
  • Normalize the usage of visual tools such as information graphics, audio snippets and video clippings create value and meaning than words can sometime.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/justin-johnson73

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