Media Criticism: Facebook “News”

I have a few Facebook friends that post some frustrating or offensive stuff. I see a lot of pro-life posts (that bash women more than they protect unborn children), and I see a lot of homophobic or transphobic posts. Typically, that would lead to an unfriend, but when they’re family, I can’t do it that way.

One particular post caught my eye a few weeks ago, and I immediately sent it to my boyfriend, so that we could start fact checking. The problem with these posts is that they don’t link to any sort of source, and we often know very little about the person posting it.

The following image was posted with the caption, “The 1st gun control law passed should be to bar democrats from owning guns. Dems blame The NRA??” (Copy and pasted word for word, by the way). Click here to see the original post.


The last line invites you to go fact checking, so that’s what I did. I started looking to see if I could find the political party of the people that committed these mass shootings. It wasn’t an easy task. If I didn’t know the name right off the bat, I first had to find the name of the mass shooter before I started trying to find whether they were a Democrat or not.

What did I find?

Very little.

I gave up about halfway down the list. Have you ever tried searching for someone’s political party before? If they aren’t a politician, or someone in the spotlight, you’re not going to be able to find this information more than likely. I confirmed maybe 1 or 2, but majority of the sources I could find were unaware of the mass shooters political affiliations.

I would venture to guess that whoever created this list was aware that this information would be hard to find and/or just created the list to rile up anti-democrat people. And it succeeded. The comments are filled with people agreeing, hating on Democrats, and claiming that they are the ones to blame for everything.

Regardless of whether or not that list is true, regardless of whether or not Democrats are to blame for “everything,” posts like these shouldn’t have the reach that they do.

I’ve gotten so used to including sources in my blog posts that I forget that it’s not commonplace in the world of social media. People post things without fact checking, without providing where they got their information, and other people see it, agree with it, and believe it.

When I see posts like these, I want to ask for sources, for more information, but some people just take this information, adding it to a list in the back of their minds — the “next reason to hate Democrats” list.


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