As Election Day Nears, Professor Colin Campbell Says Be Vigilant of News Shared on Social Media

USD School of Business Assistant Professor of Marketing Colin Campbell
begin quotePeople should curate their social media feeds to follow trusted news sources and official accounts for election information.

In today's digital world, many rely on smartphones and social media apps for up-to-the-minute information on current affairs. Users on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are sharing an abundance of articles, images and videos regarding the upcoming presidential election, its candidates and important political matters. However, Assistant Professor of Marketing Colin Campbell warns readers to beware of news shared on these platforms because social media algorithms promote posts that receive the most engagement, which are often those that are most polarizing. 

Excerpt as it appears in: ABC 10 News

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - As the election nears, millions of people will be glued to smartphones and computer screens, scrolling through social media for instant information.

But platforms like Twitter and Facebook may not be the best sources for information.

"The way the algorithms work, they promote stuff that gets a lot of reaction or a lot of engagement," says University of San Diego Assistant Professor Colin Campbell. "The systems are designed to try to show you stuff that they think is going to actually make you excited or make you react in some way. And as a result, that tends to be the more polarizing stuff."

But both sites have taken steps in 2020 to safeguard against misinformation.

In a lengthy blog post about their election protocols, Twitter called their role in the election "critical," saying that people should "use Twitter respectfully and to recognize our collective responsibility to the electorate to guarantee a safe, fair, and legitimate democratic process."

They adjusted their "Civic Integrity Policy" so that only verified and official accounts can tweet about election results.
They're also imposing stricter punishments for Tweets calling for election interference or violence.

Twitter also made changes to the way people interact with links posted on their platform.

They've added warnings to misleading tweets and direct people to more credible information if they engage with a misleading post.

They also now ask people to click on a link before Retweeting it and encourage "Quote Tweeting," where people can comment on what they're sharing instead of just reposting the original Tweet.

Twitter also changed the format of its Trending section, adding context to topics and hashtags.

Facebook, meanwhile, put a lot of effort into helping people vote. Their Voter Information Center helped 4.4 million people register to vote in 2020.

They also banned all ads related to the election, politics, or ...

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Renata Ramirez
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