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Evaluating Social Media Information

This guide will provide tips on identifying disinformation on social media platforms.


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What is Social Media?

  • Social media are electronic forms of communication where users and groups of users can share information.
  • Social media news feeds work on algorithms.

Social Media Algorithms

Algorithms work by collecting the data you submit.

This includes:

  • What you “like”
  • Who you are friends with
  • What they like
  • What groups you affiliate with
  • Information about yourself

Algorithms and Metadata

Algorithms work by collecting data you don’t submit (metadata)

  • What you login
  • Where you login
  • How you login
  • How many times a day you login
  • When you logout
  • Photographic/geolocation metadata
    Ex. Instagram tags your location

Your Data is For Sale and Dictates Your News

  • Social media is free to sign up, because they sell this information to other parties.
  • Based on the algorithm, social media news feeds will display advertisements that are relevant to you.
  • Have you ever logged into social media and see ads for things that you have talked about?
  • Based on the algorithm, social media news feeds will display news that is relevant to you.