Media is forever changing as technology continues to push limits. But have you ever read a story on a blog site and it sounded so good you believed it to be true? Whether it was a story about a recent celebrity in trouble, a site promoting celebrity gossip, or about a controversial social issue in media, checking background information on a blog site can save you from victimization.
What many fail to realize is every time there’s a click on a misleading blog site, the advertisement and stock from the site continues to generate a mass amount of income from information that’s not even true.
Though websites and blogs can provide a host of information with high quality to low-budget advertisement, journalistic ethics are not always applicable for bloggers. Excessive ads on a blog site that makes it extremely hard for a reader to even focus on the story itself, is a clear representation of lack of credibility.
Some sites have even found ways to hack into people’s social media account, spreading viruses and spam to trick people into clicking on a story that sounds legit. If a person is not careful in choosing their clicks, the threat of phishing also becomes a huge concern for potential victims.
Because blogging is not an expensive process to start up, anyone can blog and begin to make profit from the site. Anyone can throw some words together to make a story and take advantage of a target audience.
There is constant debate on whether traditional journalism has died to ‘new age’ blogsters.
Nonetheless, it is up to the viewer to research information instead of just going off of a post and reblog on facebook, instagram, other social media sites, and the internet in general. Truth is there are millions of bloggers and as an educated reader it is important to know who and where you are getting the facts of a story from.
Satires and celebrity gossip are two particular genres getting a vast amount of shares of social media. One popular site, Free Wood Post has a disclaimer stating,
“Free Wood Post is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within FreeWoodPost.com are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental, except for all references to politicians and/or celebrities, in which case they are based on real people, but still based almost entirely in fiction.”
Duffelblog.com is also a site with parody and satire that should not be taken in a literal interpreation, but rather express comedy and a fun read.
Other issues readers should be concerned about when finding sites for information are potential unwanted invitations by law enforcement to also hack into social media accounts by creating blog sites just for the use of reeling in criminals.
In 2007, the FBI hoaxed a media story under a false Associated Press account in order to locate a wanted suspect. Impersonated information was taken from the Seattle Times website, to locate a suspect in a bomb threat.
After the FBI revealed their cover in 2014, a statement from a media outlet released said,
“The utilization of news media as a cover for delivery of electronic surveillance software is unacceptable,” states the letter. “This practice endangers the media’s credibility and creates the appearance that it is not independent of the government. It undermines media organizations’ ability to independently report on law enforcement. It lends itself to the appearance that media organizations are compelled to speak on behalf of the government.”
To bloggers who want to advance in their journalism career, remember that if no one trusts the information that is provided, views may decline for your site. Credibility is essential in the business of journalism and media outlets. So always remember to check those sources and don’t always believe everything put on the internet!