All Voices Matter: media misinformation


Maya Silberman

In her revival of the weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Sydney Bishop offers her take on various social and cultural issues.

Sydney Bishop, Staff Reporter

Social media activism has been one of the largest driving forces behind the spread of misinformation in the past several years. For this reason, the large shift toward online advocacy has been just as harmful as it is efficient.

Social media is obviously one of the fastest ways to spread a message across a humongous space: the world. This is a fact that all online activists take advantage of, which has inevitably led to large faults. 

What many fail to realize is that with the luxury of having campaigning right at your fingertips comes the huge responsibility of monitoring the integrity of the messages you produce. With the online activism boom in recent years, overwhelming amounts of people are perpetuating misinformation due to little to no research on the topics they promote.

A recent example of this would be the “Don’t Say Gay” bill advancing in Florida. There has been an uproar in response to this bill, and it is completely valid to form your own opinions as long as they are based on accurate information.

Unfortunately, the bill itself has been severely misconstrued to the point of many groups of people being completely misinformed on what exactly they’re protesting. There have been articles saying that it’ll ban LGBTQ+ education and advocacy completely within the public school system.

I’ve read the bill, and the truth is it aims to prohibit conversations about sexual orientation and gender identity within primary schools. As a queer high school student, I never recall having a conversation about sexual orientation or gender identity that young in the first place. 

Realistically speaking, many adolescents don’t begin exploring their sexuality or gender identity until their early teens. If they did begin to inquire as young as elementary school age, that conversation is most likely best had with their parents. 

Initially, I was completely opposed to the bill as well due to the way it was being portrayed on common platforms. I was led to believe that it would affect older public school students that were more likely to be exposed to queerness in general. 

Of course, it is still warranted to protest the passing of this bill or even support it, but I am willing to bet that a good majority of people protesting it haven’t actually read it. That being said, lack of research runs rampant within online activism, and it’s beginning to harm important causes more than aid them.

I challenge everyone to read into things they see online before forming opinions because if not, we create echo chambers of misinformed people. Education is the most important tool of change, and the quality of a message is way more important than how many people are seeing it.