Connect with us

Opinion

Opinion: Ethics in today’s social media world

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LINE and an assortment of other social media platforms and blogs have transformed the way news is managed worldwide, enabling news outlets to be more in tune with their readership, while also allowing them to offload their ethics and other responsibilities toward their communities.

Social media tip-offs have become a foundation for community news, ranging from the public outrage of seeing Rihanna with a slow loris in Phuket to boats being busted for allegedly dumping oil off Phi Phi Don.

The platforms allow the community to help focus news agencies on what is most important and most interesting to the community at large. They also help identify what is ‘news’. Nails found in the biking lanes at Saphin Hin (story here) and pebbles scattered in the local Phuket Town skate park (story here) can become news stories through social media momentum. If enough people in the community care, it will end up on an editor’s desk.

These platforms provide easy, direct links to the teams of editors and reporters creating and publishing community news. A simple piece of evidence, such as a picture or video captured on a mobile device – which are now as common as opinions about beach chairs in Phuket – is all it takes to spark a fire for change on the island.

However, social media can also cut deeply in a more negative way.

The pattern is familiar and the pitfalls dangerous: a single photograph or video goes viral locally, generating a buzz within our readership, and a story is produced. The story follows a pattern similar to that used by news giants like CNN and BBC: “Public outrage is mounting this evening after a video went viral on Facebook…”

The pitfall is that the news item is in fact nothing more than public reaction to something, allowing media agencies to avoid verifying the validity of the catalyst. That verification process is what makes quality news expensive to groom for presentation. However, it is also the value added by a media company to a story. Access to officials, and the ability to elicit responses from those in different levels of power, are the quid pro quo of any responsible purveyor of news

As CNN noted earlier this year: “Intentionally or not, the latest round of misleading stories making viral waves has made it harder to tell truth from fiction.” There are untold numbers of keyboard warriors creating bait-and-click scenarios to drive traffic to their websites, some doing it as a game to see how far they can string along the media – and the world.

The fact that Phuket officials had to step in just a few years ago to put down rumors on social media that the island – yes, Phuket – was about to pull an Atlantis and sink into the Andaman is difficult to digest.

As Gazette columnist Simon Wetherell points out each week in our ‘Business Buzz’, social media can be very easy to manipulate, allowing people with ulterior motives to work the public in a way that forces the hands of local media.

As we navigate this new world of media as readers, it becomes more and more necessary to draw lines between those sources we trust because they refuse to shrug off their ethical duties, and those that are simply cashing in on headlines more cunning than truthful.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

World16 mins ago

Iranian forces kill young man for celebrating World Cup loss

Crime28 mins ago

Thai police seize 8 businesses in Phuket owned by Chinese gangster Tuhao

Thailand35 mins ago

Planning a small conference? Try Thailand’s super-luxury villas

Sponsored4 hours ago

Go global with Upbit Thailand: Worldwide digital asset market in your hands

Bangkok43 mins ago

50 crypto mines raided for stealing Thai electricity

Bangkok2 hours ago

Bangkok ranked No.6 in the top 10 best cities for expats

Thailand2 hours ago

Man armed with a pen gun arrested at seminar visited by PM Prayut

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Tourism3 hours ago

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport expects 130,000 daily passengers this month

Hot News3 hours ago

Racism scandal looms as Prince William and wife Kate arrive in US

Environment3 hours ago

Indonesia’s environmental protection plan- trust the billionaires

Hot News3 hours ago

Part one: the most haunted places in Bangkok

Hot News4 hours ago

Europe wakes up to US profiteering from Russia-Ukraine conflict

Crime4 hours ago

‘Pinky’ the alleged Forex 3D scammer released on bail after 3 months behind bars

Hot News4 hours ago

North Korea forces citizens to change names for a more idealistic sound

Tourism5 hours ago

Thailand’s southern islands are reeling in tourists

Thailand5 hours ago

Driver furious with BKK shopping mall after foreigner accidentally causes damage to her car | GMT

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending