Like most college students in their early 20s, I have a twitter. Which of course means that I spend too much time aimlessly scrolling just barely reading anything on my feed. But I pay enough attention to notice how often articles are quoted and called out for either being incorrect or for misrepresenting facts.
This isn’t new nor is this uncommon, for years now Twitter seems to have taken up the mantle as an institution that’s working as journalism as opposed to a site like Facebook which might be considered working with it. Black Twitter especially has been extraordinarily vocal, talking about things that mainstream outlets refuse to.
But now, others are starting to see the merit of this kind of social media journalism.
For example, there is this tweet that I saw this morning of a reporter at the New York Post calling out an article that they wrote that contradicts their own practices.
There’s also hashtags like #factcheck and various accounts that are dedicated to the mission of fact-checking articles or other tweets to inform the public on the authenticity of statements. Twitter has become important in the role of checks and balances to ensure that people in power are held responsible for their actions.
This was a role formerly done by journalism, but Twitter seems to be taking over as fake news continues to populate mainstream outlets. Especially with the presidency as it is right now, and by that I mean with a Twitter account that could be considered too active, it seems right that Twitter has a part in our journalistic coverage. Like this newest example of Twitter helping to spread the truth on Twitter with this photoshopped image Trump posted of him awarding the dog from the al-Baghdadi raid a Medal of Honor. While Twitter wasn’t the one to confirm that it was in fact photoshopped, it played a role in bringing up speculation and spreading the truth once it was out.
However, Twitter isn’t perfect nor should we acknowledge it as a replacement for journalism. Living on such a public forum is dangerous when anyone can post whatever they want and there is no way to filter out what is true and what isn’t until a bigger account points out what is actually going on. It is very much a popularity game which enables certain people to have larger platforms than others, regardless of facts.
We’ve seen firsthand how out of hand misinformation can get just recently with tweets going viral saying that Trump called Italy’s president “President Mozeralla” when that was confirmed to not be true.
Pobody’s nerfect, and with twitter just being a series of hiveminds depending on which sphere you live in its faults are numerous. But still extremely important. We need this community to instantly communicate information and for the moment, we’re stuck with Twitter.