Yesterday, I wrote on Facebook about a terrible accident scene I had witnessed when returning from a preaching appointment that got me worried and thinking about the perished souls. Within three hours, the information posted on Facebook was distorted and reported wrongly and people began calling in distress and panic to know which hospital I was.
I had to correct them to know that I wasn’t involved in any accident but was only lamenting over the accident scene I saw. In my sober reflections of how the information was distorted and wrongly reported, I caught some wisdom and understanding about the 10 ways people distort information and report it wrongly.
10 Ways People Distort Information And Report It Wrongly
- People Who Read Only Headlines
Most of the people that called me either read the headlines or were told of the headlines someone read. It is a dangerous thing to report half information without knowing the full story. You are likely to distort the information, tell lies and add your own version of the story when asked to give further details. Headlines are not full stories and most of the times, most headlines could be totally different from the actual story.
- People Who Only Read Few Lines
I now came across a group of people who also read a few lines but decided not to read till the end to know what the story was about. This caliber of people should have read the whole information and knew what it was about but decided to stop reading and call me to ask for the same details they did not finish reading. Interesting, right?
- People Who Read Without Understanding
And yet there is another group of people who read the whole story or write-up but without understanding. Sometimes, they will pass comments like “Oh, I read it but didn’t pay attention to the full details so I can’t say much about it”. So why were you wasting your time to read?
- People Who Read But Decide To Report It The Way They Want
Know that it is a bad practice to report any event or story the way you want it which is different from the actual news item. Exhibit some level of professionalism when reporting.
- People Who Read But Deliberately Distort It For Malice
This is another group of people who will read the whole content and only capitalized on a few lines to spread falsehood and tarnish someone’s image.
- The Clueless People Who Won’t Read But Depend on Hearsay and Falsehood To Make News Of It
A lot of people fall within this group. They are virtually clueless about the whole thing but prefer not to read and depend rather on hearsays and falsehood.
- When The Story Is Not Clear And Ambiguous, Rate of Distortion Is Higher
When the writer could not communicate his story in a precise and a concise language for readers to easily understand, the rate of distortion is normally higher. Everyone may interpret it in his or her own way since the writer left more room for ambiguity than clarity of purpose.
- When People Decide To Tell Lies
Sometimes, I wonder why some people are privy to the right information where they could even be eye witnesses to some events but may decide to tell lies, distort the truth and report a different thing altogether. That is a bad practice.
In a study by a Canadian, Craig Silverman entitled “Lies, Damned Lies, and Viral Content,” he found that misinformation actually spread at greater rates than corrective content. A news article from NationalReport.com, for example, claimed that a Texas town had been quarantined due to an Ebola outbreak. This was not true, yet it was shared 339,000 times.
- People Who Pick And Choose Only A Few Portion And Not Holistically
And here is another group that may read the whole story but decide to choose which area they may care to read or capture and report.
- Those Who Will Not Verify But Share It On Social Media
The last group is the larger group of people who quickly share almost anything they find on the internet and believe that’s the truth. This group of people spread falsehood and share the false information more than even the truth.
Are there more ways people distort information and report it wrongly? Share your experience with us.