Celebrities are not experts

Finding better sources for news and information


Photo courtesy of: CCDaily

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Lauren Brennan, Co-Editor-in-Chief

People can find just about anything in a fraction of a second with the internet. It is unnerving how easy it is to find addresses, phone numbers, work histories, etc. On nearly every device, users can open a web browser and access millions of different websites. Unfortunately, not all of these sites have pure intentions or information. In elementary and middle schools, teachers frequently warn students about the information available on websites. People often say, “Don’t look at Wikipedia” and “If it has the .gov ending, then it is safe.”  With so many blog-type websites (Wikipedia, Social media) mixed in with legitimate sources, it is easy to get the wrong information. When someone doesn’t want to take the time to find trustworthy websites, typically they turn to people who they find reliable.

   Unfortunately, people are looking in the wrong direction. With so much time spent on social media platforms, people form ‘connections’ to celebrities and look at what they say. This can lead to positive trends and activities; however, there is always another side. Over the last two years, there has been a massive battle against misinformation online. It started with diet culture, then the 2020 election results, and finally the COVID-19 pandemic. 

   Celebrities have anywhere from 10k to 200 million followers across social media platforms, meaning anything they say can reach all corners of the globe and greatly influence people’s actions. The problem may not be as dire when they address a superficial issue. For example, an “influencer” says their use of the Apple Cider Vinegar diet helped them lose belly fat in 30 days, when really the diet has been proven to have no significant difference, and they just had a trainer help them work out. It’s even comical when, at the bottom of the Instagram post, there is fine print that says, “Use this promo code to get 15 percent off all purchases at the company that makes the apple cider vinegar shots.” 

   The bigger issue is when the misinformation spread negatively impacts the world. At one point, people were saying putting bleach into your body will cure you of COVID-19, when, in reality, this is one of the most dangerous and deadly things one could do.

   With misinformation like this running rampant throughout the pandemic, more and more companies attempting to restrict what people could say on social media. Companies, such as Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube fought back against the spread of both misinformation and incitement of violence by banning and suspending accounts connected to such posts. Most notably, former President Donald Trump was suspended from nearly every social media platform after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol due to inciting violence through posts. 

   Former President Trump responded to the suspension of his accounts by forming his own social media titled “TRUTH Social.” According to the Truth Social website, Truth Social was created to be “America’s ‘Big Tent’ social media platform that encourages an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating against political ideology.” The app hasn’t even been released yet, but there have already been data breaches leading this editor to believe that it is going to be a questionable app in the long run. 

   Whether it’s about nutrition or a global event, instead of looking at your favorite celebrities and even politicians, look toward people who are actually qualified to answer your questions on the specific topic. Direct diet questions to a registered dietician, medical questions to a licensed doctor, and election results to election officials. It is possible to get the best information off of the internet, but you need to know where to look to find it.