Think Before You Click: “Viral” Stories

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Today I read a “viral” news from my Facebook newsfeed, recently picked up by ABS-CBN News (“VIRAL: Man walks away after woman trips on his bag”), about an incident in a local airport. For me, what happened was a mere lapse in judgement. The man decided not to help a woman in the accident he indirectly caused. It could generally be considered as rude but you can’t really call that “injustice.” The man should have went back, helped and apologized. On the other end, maybe he saw that airport staff were already helping the woman and out of embarrassment, he decided to leave.

Well, that’s my opinion and I’m like every netizen crawling in the web waiting for the next news to arrive. Once it catches my attention regardless if I’ve seen/read the video/article, I would immediately repost it on my wall along with my unsolicited opinion.

Think before you click. This is something that we Filipinos have been hearing for quite some time now. But really, do Filipino netizens think before they click? In this incident, viewers can only judge by the video, which by the way has no audio. Even if it does have audio, we are only seeing one angle to the whole story. Giving our own opinion without knowing the whole story is a dangerous affair. Moreover, we are irresponsibly putting these people in a public trial.

I am not siding with anyone. I just want to emphasize that the internet is a very powerful tool. It can make or break someone’s reputation. Before sharing or posting something, we should consider how it affects others especially the people in the video.

The internet is sadly becoming a venue for selfish rants and biased complaints (I’m also guilty and I’m not saying that this story is). It’s just disappointing that news sites have to pick up viral stories to stir the emotions and opinions of their readers. I read somewhere that, because of the internet, the demand for news has become 24/7 and naturally, quality is one of the obvious trade-offs.

I can’t help but think if mainstreaming viral stories is a way for the media to distract netizens and the general public from the more pressing issues happening in the country.

Just my thought. What are your thoughts on this matter?

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