Opinions & Features Workshop (Oct 26th)

Photo courtesy of Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta

Vaccines are rolling in, so what’s our social media responsibility now?

By Sam Rezazadeh, January 18 2021—

December 8 was a groundbreaking day for science, hopefully marking the beginning of the end. The first COVID-19 vaccine, created by Pfizer, was administered outside of a clinical trial for a limited number of the public in the UK on Dec. 8, 2020. This is thrilling news that has opened a window of hope in the fight to end this long pandemic that has affected the lives of every single one of us. 

Social media during the pandemic played a significant role in informing people, and it is continuing to do so. Social media became a safe haven for us to escape from the crazy world by doing all the viral (pardon the pun) challenges — from baking bread to all the dance challenges on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Many major international and national news agencies broadened their social media use and access to trustworthy information became a vital part of life during the pandemic. 

On the flip side, there was a lot of misinformation circulating on the web. Remember that someone came up with the idea to shoot hot air down your throat with a hairdryer? Or when conspiracy theories circulated that 5G towers give people COVID-19? 

How can one distinguish between disinformation and accurate information? The short answer is to trust your common sense first. If something doesn’t sound right to you or too suspicious, do not trust it right away. Always do your research. The Internet is a mighty thing, and it has opened the doors to information. My suggestion to you is to always get your information from multiple sources and compare and contrast them to have a more critical analysis of the information at hand. There are many resources available that can provide you with many news articles from reliable sources in one place. I am an Apple user, and I use the News outlet on my phone. You can also check other services like the Google News system. 

Getting your information from multiple reliable sources helps you  make an informed decision. Major media agencies and outlets have a professional and dedicated staff who check on their news items before publishing. Therefore, they can make sure that their news is reliable and trustworthy. Checking your sources of information is the primary responsibility that you owe yourself. I would not trust anything popping on my Facebook wall until I have done my due diligence. 

Ensuring that your source of information is reliable is very important in keeping you from, mistakenly, spreading rumours. At this time, the public does not need any additional stress added to their lives. Spreading rumours will hurt the excellent job that our health care workers have been trying to do to keep us safe and alive. 

Remember, we have a part in this fight against COVID-19. By checking our information sources and refraining from spreading rumours, we help other people have access to trustworthy information. Don’t forget to wash your hands and wear a mask — after all, this is what we can do to save 2021. 

This article is part of our Opinions section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet’s editorial board.


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