As a graduate student of Journalism at Georgetown University, I have trouble sifting through social media posts and a slew of news stories posing as fact every day.

In a recent article from The Wall Street Journal, teens are accepting social media news as truth at an alarming rate.

There is a learning curve that peaks early with technology and social media for teens, but that does not mean that their judgment for what is factually true is developed yet.

According to a study at Stanford University of 7,804 teenagers, “Some 82% of middle-schoolers couldn’t distinguish between an ad labeled “sponsored content” and a real news story on a website.”

It is just as much up to the parents as it is the role of the social media site to distinguish between news and opinion, and fact and fallacy. Facebook, Google, and Twitter are all taking steps to curb fake news dissemination.

But the real problem lies in the responsibility of these media companies to filter what they are presenting to their users. Facebook, which repeatedly denies being a media company needs to take responsibility for the information spread on its site. Social media sites also need to help users be able to determine what is news and fact, and what is false and opinion.

 

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