CARBONDALE – A dramatic headline flooded social media this week. The headline claimed SIU will shut down in the Fall.
Instantly, news consumers said they clicked to read more. Jordan Holman, a senior at SIU studying Radio/Television said her friends bought into it.
“A story on their twitter timeline or Facebook timeline and they’ll be like ‘Oh my god did you guys see this’ and not really check to see if it was valid in the first place,” Holman said.
The article is fake news, something seen a lot on social media. Even though the articles are fake, people still believe them.
Todd Graham, SIU Director of Debate, said by using one piece of factual information, even if the rest is fabricated, the fake news sites seem credible.
Abhi BhaKuni, a senior at SIU studying computer science, said he sometimes falls for this exact thing.
“You do hear like oh there are a lot of budget cuts you know SIU is going to close down sometimes I, sometimes, a few times I fall for them but usually if something is that vague I like to check a little bit more,” BhaKuni said.
But Graham said even when we learn a story is fake the damage is already done.
“It gets people to doubt whether or not SIU is going to be viable for the next year, five years, ten years etc. So even after we are told that that’s fake news, we still have doubts in our mind that are lingering,” Graham said.
Cordaro Thomas, a graduate student at SIU, said he immediately knew the article of SIU closing was fake but believes the use of social media makes it hard for others to tell the difference.
“The fact that you can get real news from social media, it’s easy to believe something fake,” Thomas said.
He said he’s working to educate his friends online.
“I just tried my best as soon as I seen close friends post it I was just letting them know that there’s no way possible,” he said.
Graham said the best way for anyone to combat fake news is to fact check, to ensure the news you pass on is the truth.
Graham said research shows many people have a hard time changing their mind, once they decide where they stand, even if they base it on so-called “fake news”.
He said it makes the false reports, all the more dangerous.