Social media now a political forum and battleground

UTSA political scientist urges using fact-checking websites

UTSA political scientist urges using fact-checking websites
UTSA political scientist urges using fact-checking websites

SAN ANTONIO – The back and forth on social media has played a role in generating even more interest in the presidential election, resulting in record voter turnouts, said UTSA political scientist Bryan Gervais, Ph.D.

Yet, Gervais said social media also is a conduit of false and misleading information on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Gervais said he urges social media users to do their due diligence. He said they can verify what they’re reading or hearing on websites like and KSAT’s Trust Index.

“If we see claims online that seem very dubious, we should research them using these tools,” Gervais said. “If we know they haven’t previously been submitted, we should submit them ourselves.”

He also said social media users can flag comments that violate social media platform policies.

“When these comments are promoting violence, that can lead them to be taken down by the social media companies,” Gervais said.

He said law enforcement also should be notified about any threats being posted online.

Gervais said it’s possible to engage with those who disagree, “As long as people don’t feel bullied or intimidated or anything like that.”

He said if anything, hateful posts condemning others can be counter-productive.

“Ýou’re not leading them to take your point of view or vote for your candidate anymore,” Gervais said. “You’re just pushing them away.”

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About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Bill Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.