How Social Media Played a Role in Electing Donald Trump

by: Brandy Walker

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There has been a lot of post-election talk over the last couple weeks. Many democrats were left stunned by Donald Trump’s ability to win the presidency. Leading up to election day, the voting poles did show a narrowing in the race, but Hillary Clinton still had a reasonable lead. When trying to figure out just how Trump was able to beat Hillary Clinton, some suspect that social media had a lot to do with it.

One reason, according to a New York Magazine article is that, “The most obvious way in which Facebook enabled a Trump victory has been its inability (or refusal) to address the problem of hoax or fake news.” Leading up to the election, there were many false stories floating around social media. Vox Media reported that there was even a fake article that suggested that Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump.

Vox Media also says, “Forty-four percent of all adults in the United States say they get news from Facebook.” Unfortunately, it sounds like many people actually believe everything they see on Facebook. So how do you know that a Facebook post is coming from a reliable and newsworthy source? You should ALWAYS check the news source! One trick that I do, is to simply Google the topic. If there are numerous reputable news outlets reporting the same thing, such as, The New York Times, The Washington Post, or The Wall Street Journal, you can most likely trust what you are reading.

While it’s too late to change the results of the presidential election, there should certainly be some changes made to prevent the spread of fake news in the future. The role of the media is supposed to protect the public against malpractice and to inform them of such instances. Many journalists, like myself, spend years learning how to accurately report fair an unbiased news. We often dedicate our lives doing so, but I feel that the publics’ access and ability to post false information on social media is hurting us all.

 

 

Citations:

Read, Max. “Donald Trump Won Because of Facebook.” Select All. N.p., 09 Nov. 2016. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Lee, Timothy B. “The Top 20 Fake News Stories Outperformed Real News at the End of the 2016 Campaign.” Vox. N.p., 16 Nov. 2016. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

 

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism