I have a routine as I scroll through Facebook each day. I often see a repost from someone that belittles — or flat out slams — a political party or politician. Without hesitation, I tap those three little dots in the upper right-hand corner of the post and click on “hide all from.” I choose to never again see a repost from that person spewing negativity. You can also hide all future posts from the person who reposted it, but I usually don’t go that far.
While it is true that a handful of my Facebook friends seem to be the ones reposting slanderous items, these people are (or have been) my friends in real life. And I realize that social media can give people a sense of boldness to share incendiary thoughts that they would never relay in person. I give my friends the benefit of the doubt. I want to see pictures of their travels and kids and home decor. I would love to calmly discuss political issues with them. But I do not want to have divisive political vitriol popping up as I scroll. It makes me think less of them.
Looks like I’m in the minority, though. Comparitech found that only 42% of people are adjusting their settings to hide people’s political posts. I highly recommend it. And if you want to get serious about it, PC World has a list of apps and extensions that remove all politics from your feed.
Some social media networks are trying to help us out. Facebook just released its most recent Community Standards Enforcement Report and has upped its game when it comes to taking action on any hate speech. In the first quarter of 2020, the company took action on 9.6 million pieces of content it felt fell into that category. In the second quarter, it took action on 22.5 million pieces of content. Facebook’s Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen said in a press call that the company detected the majority before anyone had to report the posts.
“95% was detected proactively,” he said.
The company is also trying to get rid of harmful fake news on the platform.
“We’ve already broadened our policies to ban more content that would mislead people about voting or try to intimidate them so they don’t vote,” Rosen said.
The company is also working with states in order to quickly respond to false claims about polling conditions in the days leading up to the election.
While posting links isn’t an option on Instagram, you always have the ability to mute or unfollow anyone whose posts give you bad vibes.
The way Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, are handling false information is by working with 45 third-party fact-checkers to identify and label posts with false information. When you see a post labeled as containing false information on Instagram, you can tap “See Why” to uncover which fact-checking organization made the distinction and why. You can then choose to see the post if you so desire.
On Facebook, after a story is rated false by fact-checkers, it will appear lower in your News Feed. If pages or websites repeatedly share false news, Facebook will reduce their distribution and remove their ability to advertise.
Twitter also has a civic integrity policy that bans users from sharing misleading information about how to participate in an election.
Twitter has started more frequently to stamp posts with fact-check labels.
If someone retweets posts or articles you don’t want to see anymore on Twitter, click on the dropdown menu in the upper right-hand corner of the tweet. You can decide to mute posts from the original poster, block them or report the tweet.
Snapchat is rolling out a new “Voter Guide” to reach those coveted millennial and Generation Z voters. Axios reports four new voting features on the app are “meant to guide those specific populations to more resources to help them register to vote and form a voting plan.”
All the major social networks seem to be trying to do their part to ensure we get factual information in the months before we vote. An election year doesn’t have to mean months of eye-rolling over what your friends are posting on social media. Take some steps to make your social scrolling much more pleasant without the partisan politics.