Since technology is growing rapidly people turn to social media more than ever to get their information. Whether it is from trending stories on Facebook or Twitter hashtags, social media has the power to leak this information right away. Once this information is posted within seconds most of the world has already seen it. This can be quite crazy to wrap your head around, but it has become a major problem for journalists. Two stories that help to explain these issues are The New York Times article “Falling for the Dylann Roof hoax and Sunil Tripathi Boston Marathon bombing accusations.
Dylann Roof as many know was the suspected Charleston church shooter on June 17, 2015. “As soon as Roof’s name leaked, reporters flocked to the suspect’s Facebook page, which was private except for a profile picture and his list of friends. So reporters started messaging those friends (Tolan, 2015).” Most of his friends did not know Roof in real life just from what they saw on Facebook however, Wareing, one of the many Facebook “friends” questioned pretended to know Roof and decided to tell these journalists false information about him an a mysterious Tumblr account. “According to email correspondence between Wareing and Robles, which Wareing forwarded to Fusion, the teen never gave Robles a link to the imaginary Tumblr, which he said Roof had deleted, nor any screenshots or other proof that blog ever existed (Tolan, 2015).”
The Times published the story anyway without proof that the information they received from Wareing was accurate. This is where ethical problems occurred. Within the code of journalism ethics it states that a journalist should “test the accuracy of information from all ...
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...problem does not have to happen if the media figures out a way to handle these social media issues. Some steps the news media could take in order to prevent other issues like this could be to follow up with the interviews they do. Make sure that all the information is accurate so no one is being lied to. This will also prevent for anyone’s reputation to be messed with, whether it be the journalists writing the piece or people within the piece. If this had happened in the Sunil Tripathi case he would have never been seen as a criminal and wrongfully accused. Another step that could help this issue is to not believe everything you read on social media. People are too quick to trust the common opinion, but doing so can cause major problem for the news media. Journalists should be monitoring these social media sites and not get caught up in the rumors that users spread.
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