Staff Editorial: Disinformation will control you if you don’t fight back

Photo Illustration by Alex Gross ’24

People will waste hours of their lives every day on Tiktok and jokingly call it an addiction. Time spent on this app is hurting people’s ability to critically think, and it is making it harder for our generation to separate truth from lies and fact-check their information. The only way to combat this spread is to challenge the ideas in the media and critically analyze everything you see.

The media consumed by our generation is spread with the intention to disinform and incite action. The digital world is full of lies and deceit. The target of all of these lies: our generation and the people who use the media every day without fact-checking the information who unknowingly become complicit in the pandemic spread of disinformation worldwide. 

“More than any single post, the danger of manipulated media lies in the way it risks further damaging the ability of many social media users to depend on concepts like truth and proof,” said The New York Times.

The random, erroneous facts on social media don’t even have to be believable. The real damage is done after the fact when viewing social media destroys people’s ability to believe in reliable sources and discover the truth. Social media ruins people’s urge to discover the truth because it stops them from wanting to learn and understand. 

The algorithms in many mainstream media like Instagram, Tiktok and Twitter push content spreading conspiracy theories and disinformation without making it clear to their audiences according to the Insider.

The sources that most young people use to get their information don’t even check to make sure their content is truthful. Even if people think they aren’t being influenced by the lies spread on social media, the gradual assault by disinformation and hurtful media on the users ruins their trust in credible sources.

Apps like Tiktok have algorithms that are made to target people who are susceptible to disinformation. According to the Repeller, “there are obviously problems in the way the algorithm machinates in that, depending on who you are and what you like, it can reinforce and cater to your worldview in an unproductive way.” 

Over time, social media apps are able to build profiles of their users, and they can push content that only furthers the spread of misinformation as people stand by absorbing what they believe to be the truth.