Facebook is my safe haven - Fake news issue debunked.

It all drills down to awareness and positive, mindful approach

While the last couple of months of fake-news-panic in media brought a lot of fear and scepticism towards social media, in particular to Facebook, I am still happy and comfortable with my daily binge-Facebooking sessions. In fact, I believe Facebook makes me a better person every day?

OK, I have been “successfully brainwashed”, but have I? Let’s have a look at the core of the problem which is the widespread negativity. Negative news, shocking news, outrage all over: people kidnapped, murdered by terrorists, wars, epidemics, genocides, people are dying from hunger, homelessness is on increase, the climate is changing, stocks are down, the financial crisis is coming again, bitcoin is imploding, social divide is growing, healthcare systems at the edge of collapse and we are facing political crises worldwide. Does it sound familiar?

Yes, in fact that was the sad reality presented in the recent Hollywood movie: “Tomorrowland” by Disney where George Clooney shows us the never-ending loop of fear hindering humanity from real progress and reaching the stars.

Yes, fear is what kills us. The movie did not receive great reviews, nevertheless, we can get one important take away from it: “change the attitude!”.

OK, how does it relate to Facebook and the current fake information and hate crisis? The answer is: your Facebook feed can get as negative as you want, also you can make it a beautiful, peaceful place pretty easily. How? You can just ignore the negative content and click only on positive messages, favourably original posts by your friends, not shared content. Over time, Facebook AI-driven feed algorithm will learn what you like and voila! Majority of your feed is beautiful and personal. Of course every here and there you may face some paid content that is negative, but just be mindfull about it.

Preferably ignore negative content, even if it goes in line with your personal feelings. Don’t allow others to feed on your soft spots and make you feel worse. Of course there are important articles to be read, and if you cant avoid facing the negative content stay calm and investigate it with full awareness. However, if you feel like you need to fight for some cause or provide support to others, don’t do it on Facebook. Instead, join some face-to-face meetings and participate in discussions & debates in real-world - nobody ever convinced anybody to their position on Facebook or other social media. Text-based communication tools have their inherent limitations and there is not much we can do about it but to understand it and deal with it properly. Otherwise, all you can get is a massive frustration and polarised, pointless discussions. Facing content which we deeply disagree with causes the core identity areas in the brain to light up. We turn into defensive mode, adrenaline goes up — we are ready to fight! Nobody gonna stop you by writing elaborate articles that you are wrong and she or he is right, no you are going to convince them! That cannot be further from truth, that never happens.

Nevertheless, if you still feel there is some important bad news that should be shared, first thing you should do is to make sure it is a true story; try to debunk fake or manipulative messages simply, by Google-ing them. Usually the first or the second result can help you with the judgement, however there is a far better method which I apply often.

Look inside your heart and ask yourself: How does that article make me feel? Do I feel angry? Do I feel outraged? If so, be aware, in 95% cases you are being manipulated. Also try to figure, what are you trying to achieve by sharing that content? Are you really trying to help, or your are just venting your anger. Be aware of that, and avoid. Focus on your interest and hobbies, like the pages which present encouraging and constructive messages. Learn from Facebook as you would from Wikipedia. Make it personal, make it yours, make it help you grow.

Majority, of problems with fake news happen when people engage with and share posts without any deep consideration of the content or consequences of sharing. Be mindfull about your actions, what you share and what you say. Text-communication is very limited when it comes to expressiveness and you can hurt somebody unintentionally pretty easily. How many times you got into great misunderstanding when texting rather than calling a person close to you? The same applies to Facebook!

Also, how do you want to appear to other people? Do you really want to be the “bad news” person or rather that constructive, inspiring, wise and enthusiastic individual.

Therefore, stay calm and enjoy Facebook! No need to fear fake news when they can’t hurt you anymore. Help Facebook to go back to what it really is, a platform for people to come together and have enjoyable moments. It starts with you. Explore, talk to friends, make new connections, join exciting communities, in peace. Good things await us! Have fun!

Researcher & Dreamer, VR is the next thing @NUIGalway @insight_centre @projectcompact https://www.linkedin.com/in/porwol/

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