Misinformation on social media makes Americans less empathetic

Misinformation on social media makes Americans less empathetic

According to new data from a recent survey conducted by the United Way of the National Capital Area, more than half of all Americans — 57% — said misinformation on social media has impacted their empathy. Additionally, 27% of respondents added that they even switched where they get their news from because of empathy burnout.

Aside from Gen Z, respondents from every generation indicated that Facebook is the social media app that contributes the most to their empathy burnout.

According to the researchers, empathy burnout occurs when “a person regularly expends much of their energy—emotionally, physically, spiritually—caring for others to the point where they feel exhausted themselves.” Many can probably relate to these feelings.

“We asked questions about news events that contribute to their burnout, characteristics of compassion fatigue, and coping strategies they use to alleviate it,” said Nedelka Phillips, United Way NCA’s senior vice president of marketing and fundraising. “Over half of Americans say misinformation on social media has affected their empathy.”

The fact that so many people now rely on social media as a source of news certainly adds to the problem – in part because it’s filled with so much misinformation and even disinformation.

“QAnon, for example, is creating an army of people who deeply believe untruths and aggressively fight to ensure their incredible truths are believable,” suggested Enderle Group technology analyst Rob Enderle.

“This creates a level of conflict that is very troubling because the basis of these untruths is weak and creates the uncertainty in those who propose them, and that uncertainty is likely the basis for the associated increased anger and escalation of violence when these beliefs.” are rightly challenged to turn social media platforms into cesspools of wrongdoing and abuse,” Enderle warned. “Social media, and Facebook in particular, is fueling a world where I doubt anyone working at this company wants to live, and that’s a serious problem because it goes against the natural trend of the world becoming more accepting and cooperative over time.”

Perhaps today, thanks to social media, many people can often be deceived – and the platforms benefit from this.

“Social media actually helps weaponize gullible people, not to achieve any general goal, but to maximize sales, at the expense of creating a far more hostile and unsafe world,” Enderle added. “As a result, Facebook and other services that knowingly allow this wrongdoing to maximize short-term revenue and profits become an existential risk to humanity that is likely to end badly for both our race and companies like Facebook.”

What happened to Social?

An increasingly missing element of “social media” is the social aspect. Instead, the platforms have become echo chambers of opinion.

“As technology has evolved, there have always been unintended consequences. Interestingly, for a medium that started out as a force, it seems to be more social — now it often seems to lean to the ‘dark side’ and be a platform of being antisocial,” said Susan Schreiner of C4 Trends. “It’s closed has become a hotbed of hate, fear mongering and disinformation. Today’s social media reflects an increasing rudeness in the way people interact with one another in person. It’s as if the dark side of human beings hides behind the veil of social media. “

While political intransigence and a lack of collegiality, the pandemic and fears of insecurity are contributing factors — social media makes it easy to attack or bully someone without responsibility or consequence, Schreiner warned.

“There’s a rebellion against respect — and the ‘I can disagree, but do it politely’ attitude,” she suggested.

Politeness is certainly lacking in most social media exchanges.

“Social media gives narcissism and people’s worst instincts and traits permission to just ‘hang out,’ without regard for others,” Schreiner added. “Social media has given ‘me’ and ‘I’ permission to take precedence over ‘we’ and to consider or respect the feelings or viewpoints of others.”

Despite all the negativity on social media, there is still hope to be optimistic, but it will take work.

“It’s no longer enough to just click on Facebook or Twitter and blindly accept what’s being said.

“On some levels it comes down to ‘mob’ versus face-to-face interactions. It’s like tabloid headlines versus headlines The New York Times or The Washington Post‘ she warned. “While we’ve seen a lot of scaremongering during the pandemic, we’ve also seen the kindness among strangers on social media — with members in neighborhood groups helping one another, or members in certain types of Facebook groups offering emotional support to those alone .”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.