Twitter is Full of Misleading Ledes

Though Twitter could try to make its headlines more straightfoward, it’s the reader’s responsibility to research further. (Courtesy of Flickr)

Though Twitter could try to make its headlines more straightfoward, it’s the reader’s responsibility to research further. (Courtesy of Flickr)

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By Briana Scalia

As an aspiring journalist, it’s pretty much included in the job description that I be up to date on major news stories. Though just as important, it’s often not stated that I should also be fact checking every story I come across before paying it mind.

A quick glance through this week’s Twitter moments would have you believe that the Supreme Court is deciding on the rights of LGBTQ+ workers in the next coming days. The heading, “Supreme Court to decide whether Title VII covers LGBT workers,” appears only after clicking on the moment.

One tweet a few moments down goes even further, detailing the major issue that the Supreme Court is to determine whether the present terminology of the law includes those of varying sexual orientations.

Though not intentionally misleading, most of our sources of information these days can often lead to a state of confusion. Logging onto Twitter every morning is like navigating the conversation of a crowded room that began long before you knocked on the door.

Each day new hashtags are trending, new threads are being published and new information is being spread to millions of users (well, as long as it fits into a 280 character limit).

Don’t get me wrong, I love Twitter. I have two accounts, one professional account for all my journalistic needs and one casual account where I can post my amateur sketches of people (@briana__scalia and @bri_valentina because why not?).

As aforementioned, I check both accounts multiple times a day, whether to catch up on current events or to waste time liking relatable posts. But I would be lying if I said I had never been deceived by some kind of tweet.

Before sitting down to write this article, I was fully prepared to publish a scathing article demanding the Supreme Court reconsider taking working rights from those in the LGBTQ+ community.

Besides, Twitter is not the source of this quick news trend. On the contrary, the social media platform is just doing its best to keep pace with the shortened attention span of the average user. And though some might think of this shortened attention span as a sign of entitlement, I see it as quite the opposite.

We are all expected to keep up on …everything. Ask any non “Game of Thrones” fan how they feel browsing social media after each new episode release.

Technology has given us the power of knowledge at our fingertips. It’s not surprising that the result is that people want to know everything, from the latest incestual hookup of Westeros (no spoilers here) to Senator Warren’s new student loan forgiveness policy.

The power of instant knowledge could only be followed by the expectation of immediate answers, and in a world of gray rather than black and white, the succinct answer is not always the correct answer.

Wanting to stay updated about the world around us isn’t something to be ashamed of. If I’m being honest, it’s one of the things I value most in those I consider my closest friends.

But with the desire to understand comes the necessity to fully understand. To look further into news stories, to do your own research before boycotting a celebrity or just to read further into the Twitter moment.

Even if it takes an additional half an hour, it’s worth your time to read up on stories you find interesting.

Yes, Twitter could do its part to try and make some of its stories more clear.

But in the end, it falls on our shoulders to be more responsible about the information that we circulate, be it over the phone or in person.


Briana Scalia, FCRH ’20, is a journalism major from Long Island, New York.