Dublin Airport Lights Social Media on Fire

By Sarah O’Brien

Sarah O’Brien argues that while sites such as Twitter and Facebook are great sources of breaking news stories, it’s very easy for false or misleading content to be uploaded and shared.

Social media and web 2.0 is well on its (mobile) way to defining this generation. New statistics revealed recently suggest that Irish people have the highest smartphone internet usage rates in the western world, and are we really that surprised?

As wonderful as the advancements of modern technologies are, social media has its downsides, one obvious one being that it can serve to manipulate information, whether intentionally or not.

Take the recent fire that broke out in Dublin airport last Wednesday morning. Most major media outlets used this photograph when reporting on the story. Does anything look odd about this picture?The fire broke out around 06:45 am in the Eirtech-owned hanger causing to be suspended in and out of the airport for approximately 90 minutes.

Thick, black smoke was seen billowing out of hangar 3, however the two whisper jets housed there survived largely unscathed.

The airport’s own fire crew and Dublin City fire brigade were able to get the blaze under control a short time later. There were no injuries and no explosions either.

The image largely used by the media reporting on the story, was that of the sun rising behind the hanger. The actual fire itself can be seen over to the right of the image.

So, what does this incident teach us about the perils of social media becoming a primary source of news?

It shows that images have the capacity to skew a story intentionally or not. It shows that as wonderful as sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Periscope are, it’s easy for false or misleading content to be uploaded, shared and subsequently go viral.

Just as you would with the mainstream media, take it all in with a pinch of salt.

Link to original article: http://campus.ie/surviving-college/politics/dublin-airport-lights-social-media-fire

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