Society has benefited a lot from social platforms and also has suffered its negative impacts

Many researchers and experts warn about social media’s harmful effects


Dung Tran

Graphic by Dung Tran, Time Staff

Understanding social networking is necessary for knowing how to use it appropriately; it can become a great tool in our life. Many experts are concerned about the negative impacts of social media.

1. Social media addiction

Blair wellness group, a professional psychological corporation, said that social media addiction has the same symptoms as drug or alcohol addiction. They also define that social media addiction is a behavioral addiction characterized by an excessive interest in social media, driven by being uncontrolled to spend so much time on social media, which affect their lives and those around them.

These addiction effects would be like any other substance use disorder, including mood swings and hostility. When social media use is restricted or prohibited, there is the possibility of conflicts between individuals and families or others. This detox of excessive social media use is very easy to relapse again after a treatment time or when no longer isolated or prohibited.

Teenagers are more prone to social media addiction, which can affect their education. Some use social media to intimidate and harass others. Many cases can lead to a criminal offense.

2. Fake news and the “truth.”

According to the University of Michigan Library, “fake news” is fundamentally false stories: the story itself is fabricated, with no facts, sources, or verifiable quotes. Sometimes these stories can be intentionally designed to deceive readers or be designed as a “spotlighting trick.”

Usually, there are two types of fake news

1. The stories are not real. These are purely fabricated stories to make people believe something that is not true, the purpose of which is to be used commercially to advertise a particular product or service.

2. People who publish information that only partially has the truth but has not been verified or has completely distorted truth. For example, a journalist only partially quotes what a politician says, giving a false impression of what they mean. This work could be intentional to convince the reader of a point of view, or it could result from an unintentional mistake. However, this kind of news quickly attracts the audience and can spread rapidly. The more it spreads, the more it distorts, and this kind of fake news is very harmful.

Fake news contributes to attract the number of supporters or distract a genuine discernment of real problems in society. Current election campaigns do not hesitate to release a lot of fake news to cause fragmentation among a political party line of support or loyalty.

On the national level, this kind of fake news can harm a country’s democracy by deliberately directing people to misconceptions and will weaken the country. People will no longer distinguish what is happening to the country’s future. With the rapid spread of social networks today, this is one of the most effective means of spreading fake news.

3. Impact of social media on politics

According to an article by Brooke Auxier about a Pew Research Center survey of American adults from July 13 to 19, about 64% of Americans said that social media primarily has a negative impact on the way things are going in the country today.

Only 10% of Americans said that social media predominantly positively impacted the way things are going, and 25% of respondents thought that these platforms have neither positive nor negative effects.

People who view social media’s impact explicitly mentioning the harm of misinformation and instigating hate, disunite, and harassment negative impact. They are also concerned about users blindly believing everything. Some people even think current social media has contributed to partisan promotion and polarization in the current spiral flow of information.

4. Disinformation/conspiracy theories

According to a New York Times article “Tracking viral misinformation ahead of the 2020 election.” the current politicization of many of the country’s problems will lead to many effects, such as weakening the country’s position on the international level, creating social polarization, distracting from focusing on solving fundamental social problems such as economic recession and increasing of epidemics—the direct damage to the life for the people only.

We have seen and are seeing many politicians using social media to attack their political opponents.

They see social media such as Facebook and Twitter as a free political platform, so they can log-in at any time of the day to incite, defame, slander, and use conspiracy theories to draw voters to their side. These behaviors have a significant influence on the country’s democracy nowadays. We need a thorough understanding of social media for our personal use. We need to know its harmful effects to protect ourselves, our family, and society.