Hate, anger, lies…is a social network connecting us, or driving us further apart? Negative posts and misinformation poisoning your feed. Eyewitness News’ Joey Horta investigates the social media overload.

By JOEY HORTA | February 28, 2017

From teens to great-grandparents, just about everybody is on Facebook these days. With so many negative posts coming at you, experts say it could be taking a toll on your relationships.

But there are steps you can take to cut down on the negativity.

Filling up the coffee machine and making a fresh pot – for many people it's part of the morning routine.

And nowadays you can't have a "cup of Joe" without scrolling through your Facebook feed in a world that's constantly connected.

"Got my iPhone; got my Apple Watch," said Michelle Chamberlain Kumpe, who like so many others, can't help but notice the overwhelming amount of negative posts which can really grind your gears.

"When you're constantly seeing 10 to 20 hate-filled posts – you know – I don't need that right now," Chamberlain Kumpe said.

It's so frustrating; nearly four in 10 users decide to block or minimize political content, according to the Pew Research Center.

Why? A difference in viewpoints, bashing a candidate you support, or offensive images that a user is fed up with.

So when does it go too far?

"When you're constantly seeing 10 to 20 hate-filled posts – you know – I don't need that right now"

"Click, share – boom; it’s there for everybody to see it," Chamberlain Kumpe said.

Fresno State Professor Betsy Hays said social media is now connected to every aspect of public relations.

"I use the phrase 'just because you can, doesn't mean your should' a lot. And I think that's something we all need to keep in mind when we're communicating," Hays said.

One study from Pew Research Center shows liberal Democrats are more likely to change their views after being exposed to social media.

Oftentimes it's "fake news" that's doing the damage.

"Try as best we can to make sure the information we share is accurate, because otherwise we are – you know – perpetuating untruths and false facts, and that is damaging," Hays said.

It could shape the user's understanding of the world, according to Assistant Professor Aimee Rickman, who focuses on child and family sciences at Fresno State.

One area of study: propaganda in your news feed.

"Its actually comes more efficiently because it's being shared by friends – being shared by people we know. Word of mouth advertising is the most efficient and successful form of advertising and our friends are doing the kind of work advertisers used to have to do – passing information onto us," Rickman said.

"Click, share – boom; it’s there for everybody to see it"

She studies how adolescent girls are influenced, by having their so called friends on Facebook, all in the same spot, reacting to the same post, which wouldn't really happen in person and can lead to miscommunication, when different people interpret the message.

"They show parts of themselves on different platforms – Facebook primarily – to adults and parents who they know are watching them there and then; they'll show other parts of themselves on other sites where they know their parents aren't," Rickman said.

A first world problem that people like Chamberlain Kumpe, who love keeping in touch through social media but don't want it to bog them down, are learning to unplug from.

There's even an app you can download called "Remove All Politics from Facebook," to keep it from stirring up emotions.

"That's my goal for this year – to really spend quiet time not on my mobile device, but just kind of disconnect all the way around – which is a tough thing to do," Chamberlain Kumpe said.

She'll try to take more time to have conversations in person while taking in the view.

3 ways to block political posts from your Facebook feed

From CBS News by Jennifer Earl


Download the “Remove All Politics From Facebook” Chrome extension


Try the “Social Fixer” plugin


Hide or Unfollow a post or profile




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