FYI… Verify!

“If the truth is there, bad writing won’t hurt it!” This quote made famous by Alfred Adler means to me that if what you are writing is in fact the truth, then the way in which you write or present the information has little impact on how people perceive the truth. When you log in to your preferred social media site, or tune into the top trending news stories, how do you know the content you’re absorbing is factual? Should people really believe everything they read?

The main difference between a verified account and verifying content on social media is that when you verify something you see, trace it straight back to the original source. You research and use reliable information to aid in the verification process.  A verified account on social media means that person has been checked out by the platform itself and really are who they claim to be. The verification of content on social media is very important. Whether it be news and politics related or just a post pertaining to something you care about, it is crucial to not only rely on what that source claims but to double check for accuracy yourself. No one wants to be armed with false information or reports.

Everyone has their own version of verification. Comparing the three given sites and after critiquing the processes of differing styles of verification, I personally believe CNN has the more solid, stronger strategy. CNN uses iReport which was described by a CNN spokesperson as “the most developed and active citizen journalism platform of any news organization worldwide.” When they get reports flooding in, the way they verify the information works well for them. First thing, contact the contributor- get straight to the source. After confirming the source of the report is real, they move on to validating the foundation of the information in the story. They use outside resources, locals, and the CNN international desk to help identity and verify the facts. CNN calls their verification process vetting.

When it comes down to all the different ways we have to verify a source, generally most companies, bushiness, brands, and average Joe’s all verify content the same way. You first look at who or where the source came from and use a variety of different methods to do this. After validating the source, you verify the facts. Search for similar posts, pay close attention to details such as the time and date of post, cross reference their social media platforms. With the availability we have to easily access information online in the 21st century, there should be no excuse for fake news! Filter what you find.

In many instances, people associate being first with being the best. However, in the case of social media content, it is always better to be right rather than first. Say for instance that you’re a social media manager for a top news organization. There is a breaking story and your competitor beats you to the punch of getting the information out to the public first. But, what if their information is not all that accurate? Taking the time to verify all the facts and report on real issues is more important than being the first to publicize it. Of course, many would agree to some extent that you should always think before you post. Is what you are saying completely true to the best of your knowledge? Are you accurately sharing information that has been through the vetting process and passed? Are you stating facts and not giving your personal opinion? As long as you have verified the sources and original content base to be true, share away!

If for some reason I unknowingly re-posted false content then no, I do not believe I should be held liable. Now, if that same scenario was applied to a journalist or reporter then the answer is yes, they are completely liable because like I previously mentioned, there are so many ways to verify content these days and journalist have a greater duty to fact check than someone like me, re-posting a story unaware of its false pretenses. When I share or re-tweet content that does not necessarily mean I have went out of my way to verify the information before personally posting it. Usually, if I re-tweet or share something it’s because I had some type of reaction to it, positive or negative. As a social media manager, the job responsibility entitles them to not only spread the word but seek the truth. So, attribution does not absolve them from spreading false information to the public, especially when their job entails them to verify all content.

To have a verified account is very valuable as a business and brand. When you are promoting something as a verified account, it reassures your followers that you are a legit site and all the information you post is valid and factual. A verified account gives people peace of mind.

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