Berkeley, CA — I get my news from a variety of sources — newspapers, podcasts, and, yes, social media. Many people my age cite social media as their main source of obtaining news. This might sound alarming to some people, but that’s not how I see it.
Just because I get some of my news from social media doesn’t mean I treat the information the same as news originating from reputable outlets.
Because of social media’s fast-paced nature, things spread fast. And sometimes, “facts” go unchecked. For example, I learned the news about Montana’s recent TikTok ban on TikTok. There, people made claims that this law could result in legal consequences for individual app users, which caught my attention.
Hearing people’s confident interpretations about the implications of the law sounded convincing — especially after seeing other people agree in the comments. However, I wasn’t going to trust random people online. So I checked this information with the Verify.com website, which explained that this wasn’t true and why the ban won’t penalize individual app users.
Social media can be used to spread awareness, but people’s research on an issue shouldn’t stop there. The way I see it, variety is super important. And although thoughtfully incorporating social media as a source of current events can be more time-consuming because of fact-checking, I’ve been exposed to so much more than I would be with traditional news sources.
While the importance of research and evaluating sources should be recognized, Gen Z’s different approach to news is too often mischaracterized. When used well, social media has the power to quickly inform people and put the control over what current events are shared in the hands of the public.
Nina Thompson (she/her), is high school student from Berkeley, CA.
Edited by Amber Ly