Today, many Americans see social media as their primary news source on worldwide dilemmas, influencing their opinions on world conflicts. As the 2000s brought new technological advances, many corporations began to take advantage of the opportunity to expand their companies virtually. The development of multiple social media networks across the globe such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, brought a large shift regarding where most Americans receive information on recent news. Although social media has brought many communities together through times of uncertainty, it is also known to implement fear through the advertisement of serious topics. In the Ebola breakout of 2014, millions of people across the globe relied on social media to not only keep them informed with news about the virus but to also help relieve any concerns that they had of contracting it. Although, many applications failed to do so by advertising statements that led Americans to believe misinformation about the virus.  In an article titled “Ebola May Pose Little Threat to the U.S., but it Looms Large on Twitter” by Joshua A. Krisch from the New York Times, Krisch discusses how many people were reacting to the crisis: “Ebola is trending on Twitter. Even a cursory hashtag search turns up, among the news articles and official announcements, expressions of fear, gallows humor, and bad information. The virus can spread through the air? OMG! (It cannot.) A possible Ebola case in New York City? Time to pack for Mars! (It was not Ebola.)” ( Joshua A. Krisch). As tweets such as the one quoted from Krisch’s article circled the globe, fear from these misleading facts submerged those who believed them into total chaos. Furthermore, as the United States is now battling COVID-19, social media has once again become the platform that many Americans turn to when trying to inform themselves about the virus. In an article written by Alejandro De La Garza titled “How Social Media Is Shaping Our Fears of — and Response to — the Coronavirus”, De La Garza examines how social media groups and comment sections are becoming spaces for people to have arguments about the measures taken to stop the spread of the virus. He states, “Researchers say that model is partially responsible for the spread of misinformation and sensationalism online since shocking or emotionally-charged content is especially good at getting people’s attention”. False, sensationalized information about the virus is prone to catching people’s attention more often than the information released from researchers. This seems like one reason why the United States reached a state of panic immediately after the virus entered our borders, as social media was constantly spreading COVID-19 information whether true or false.

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