Yesterday’s news that US Steel will not be making steel in Hamilton seemed to bring out a glaring weakness in social media.
Within minutes of the announcement, Twitter and Facebook were inundated with posts stating that US Steel was closing down it’s Hamilton operation and upwards of 2,000 jobs were lost.
Yes, those Tweets and Re-tweets were right there beside the posts about the deaths of Jackie Chan and Will Smith, and they were just as accurate too.
Social media is a wonderful tool, but at times like this, it obliterates the first rule of journalism… to be accurate.
These days, anyone with a keyboard is a ‘journalist’ and many of them don’t let the facts get in the way of their rants.
Did anyone who tweeted or retweeted these stories bother to report that US Steel hasn’t made steel in Hamilton for the past three years ?
Or, that only about 47 non unionized employees will be affected , not 2,000 as many reported ? Or that industry experts have been expecting this announcement for some time because of the plight of the steel industry ?
Of course not.
Social media is an amazing and powerful tool to communicate.
But with that power should come some responsibility to get the story right .
Before you Tweet or Retweet, use your head before you use your thumbs !