The Impact of Misinformation

The new social media age of our society has opened a whole new world for all of us. Despite all of the great things that have come with social media and advanced internet, there has been a fair share of negatives. In recent years, misinformation and the era of “clickbait” has become a huge issue on the internet and on social media.

I personally feel as though I’ve done a good job navigating through false information and doing my research when something sounds skeptical to me. However, this topic immediately makes me think of my grandma who has definitely fallen victim to misinformation online. Unfortunately though, it is nearly impossible to actually show and convince her that these stories are not real. She purchased her first smartphone about two years ago and created herself a Facebook account. Facebook is notorious for having the most outlandish rumors and false news on the site. Facebook has very extreme headlines and stories on both sides of the spectrum and it’s hard to believe really anything on there. My grandma being from Mexico and moving to the U.S. has a big part in this I feel. These last two years have been her first experiences with social media and the power of the internet, not to mention English is of course not her strongest language.

For more context she also has different social and political beliefs than the rest of the family that would maybe be called “old fashioned” so there are definitely many difficult conversations that come along when she is sharing and telling us about these obviously fake articles and conspiracies. Some examples of this being that Covid was man-made in a lab, the vaccine is going to kill us all, and the election was rigged. It’s difficult to have to say these things and face that this is what she believes when the rest of us are just the complete opposite. Plus, when you consider values in Mexican culture where grandma/nana is the superior in the family or is held to the highest of praises because anytime my mom or one of her other three daughters have tried to educate her they are automatically disrespectful and ungrateful. It’s a hard realization that this has all stemmed and only in recent years because of misinformation online and the effect social media can have on all of us. It is hard to even blame her too much she’s never had a phone or internet, or driven, or had a job in the United States. It’s overall just unfortunate that she isn’t as open minded as everyone else is or has learned to become.

Overall, I feel like my grandma can be seen as a prime example of how our older generations, or those less versed with media, can be impacted by misinformation. Anything can be said by anyone online and as unfortunate as that is, it’s the truth. I feel like the best thing anyone can do is try to explain to someone like this that not everything they see and hear is to be believed. It’s vital to do your own research and develop your own beliefs which can save many people from falling victim to these outlandish rumors and theories.

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