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Fact vs. Fiction: Can You Trust Social Media When It Comes to Ebola?

Has your social media feed been inundated with Ebola news? Since word of the virus erupted earlier this year, there’s no escaping the topic, especially on social media. In fact, almost every other story is a headline related to the deadly virus that has taken our country by storm. On one hand, social media helps raise awareness and establish necessary precautions about the virus, but Ebola is spreading fear on social networks faster than the disease itself. How much of what we read is true and how much is an attention-seeking headline? Social media feeds can certainly be a great source of information, but they can also spread contradictory or wrong information that could be detrimental to our knowledge.

The onset of Ebola in the news has spread an underlying fear and stigma across the nation. Is social media a reliable source for the information you are taking in? Unfortunately social media presents news before it is either confirmed or denied by news sources. It is a good source for spreading news quickly, but you must be careful which information you retain from your Facebook or Twitter feed because a lot could be untrue.

Schools, hospitals, and other public buildings alike have been shutting down due to the Ebola scare that is invading the media. Every source wants to be the first to relay a breaking piece of news information and this is causing great fear. The virus has gone viral and various consequences have happened due to the fact.

Schools around the US have closed and classes have been cancelled because various staff members or students have flown on the same or similar flights as the most recent Ebola victim. Though campuses and buses have been disinfected, the social scare has prompted school board associates to close up shop. Something has simple as a student telling a teacher her sister was sick with flu-like symptoms has prompted people to completely cancel schedules. This can all be attributed to what we read in social media and the exaggeration that it exudes. There are certainly pros and cons to news erupting in the social scene.

Pros:

  • You can easily stay abreast of breaking news happening around the world.
  • It helps you stay connected with friends, family, and others who are experiencing the same things in different areas.
  • Sharing things on social media is the best way to reach a large audience.
  • News shared on social media often gets retweeted, shared, etc to spread the word and create trending topics that might otherwise get overlooked.

Cons:

  • There is a lack of concrete information and it’s hard to decipher what is true and what is a hoax.
  • Social shares are often fueled by rumors.
  • Many times there are false accusations that simply evoke feelings of fear that are unnecessary.

If we can leave you with any information, it is to verify what you are reading in social media feeds. Yes, it is important to be aware of what is happening around us, but make sure the information you take in is from a confirmed, reliable source before you disrupt your daily routine. 

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