By not showing full story, social media pages are Full Send-ing misinformation

Michael Sicoli, Editor-in-Chief

The importance of correct reporting and information have never been more vital than it is right now.

For years, with a notable change after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, the news has been consistently under fire for its jaded coverage of current events. Companies will cover the same story in different ways in an effort to capture the facts in a perspective that is appealing to its viewership. As a result, traditional news sources have become a source of distrust among younger populations, and that distrust gave birth to a very real problem in America — disingenuous reporting.

Illustration by Connor Lawless

The rise of social media news platforms has allowed teenagers to track current events through their accounts on Instagram or Twitter, and not everyone is following reputable news organizations.

Full Send, a group owned and operated by prank channel Nelk, is a major contributor to misinformation disguised as bluntness. The success of Nelk led to over two million people following Full Send on Instagram. Although the account is no longer available on the platform, it still commands over 20,000 followers on Twitter.

It began by posting content one might expect of a group with a teenage demographic that is 88.7% male according to StarNgage — sports and nostalgic content that I know I always appreciated. It’s what I expect of a brand that was created to sell merchandise around reckless, yet fun, behavior.

What I don’t expect is news. Full Send always dabbled in trending topics but that was typically reserved to sports, crazy stories or tragedies.

The change occurred around when President Joe Biden took office. Since then, Full Send went “full news” and changed course. The Instagram account frequently posts screenshots of their own headlines from Twitter that sensationalize the actual story by warping facts.

Now, that’s not the biggest problem. But the issue arises when Full Send posts primarily right-leaning narratives with no actual story to follow.

See, Full Send doesn’t cover news, or write stories about it. They just copy headlines and post it to a young audience who read the headline and don’t follow-up. It promotes the same disingenuous news content that my generation is so tired of.

Sharing content from one side of the political fence is an insult in itself, but to do so with a vulnerable demographic presents a danger to this country. It can be downright brainwashing to have your feed flooded with content about the current situation in Afghanistan with literally zero reporting to read about. It’s far too complicated to only read headlines about it, yet Full Send does it with reckless abandon.

Here’s a headline from Aug. 20 on Full Send’s Twitter that says “Kamala Harris tanks in polls as Afghanistan crisis continues.” As simple as that,  zero context. On Instagram, before the account became unavailable, it read “NEWS: According to a survey released Thursday, 55% percent of voters believe that Harris is ‘not qualified’ or ‘not qualified at all’ to become the future president.”

What survey? There’s no hyperlink to see, nor any clarification in the caption. There’s no comparison to what it once was to what it is now. How many people were actually surveyed? A headline claiming 55% of voters is misleading in itself. How many voters thought she was “very qualified” to be the next president?

If you do the slightest bit of research, here’s the real story.

Of the voters surveyed, 43% believe Harris is qualified to assume the presidency, with 29% thinking she is “very qualified.” In comparison, 55% of those surveyed believe Harris is not qualified to assume the presidency, with 47% believing she is “not at all qualified.”

So the headline definitely skewed to the right, but that’s not uncommon as mentioned before. Where’s this poll actually from? That would be Rasmussen Polls, a pollster that traditionally leans to the right and as a result would have a larger right-leaning following taking its polls.

That’s not my opinion, by the way. FiveThirtyEight and Ad Fontes Media, two moderate groups that are known to evaluate bias in poll groups and news organizations, both have Rasmussen leaning to the right by a considerable margin. This is to speak nothing of the numerous credible news organizations who have dubbed Rasmussen as a “conservative pollster.”

If Full Send wants to quote a biased poll, it should have the decency to include a link to the poll, or at the very least the name of the poll instead of just “survey.” Continuing to push out biased headlines to millions of youths is an irresponsible way to get traction and clicks.

This, of course, applies to both sides of the political spectrum. Full Send is an example of this, and the biggest one I’m aware of.

Don’t take this as a discredit to what social media can do. It can and should serve as a medium for unbiased and reliable coverage that reaches a younger audience who does not check the Apple News app as much as their feed on Instagram.

Comparatively, take a look at Jerry News. The Instagram account may have half the followers Full Send does, but it produces infinitely better content. Their headlines are short and informative, devoid of opinion and the Instagram captions aren’t just reiterating the banner with the line “Thoughts?” as Full Send does on occasion. The captions consist of captivating ledes and a couple paragraphs explaining the story. It even updates the captions quickly if new information becomes available.

Nowadays, Americans must be diligent to check their news sources and stay up to date. Full Send and accounts like it should be more responsible with how they “report” given its audience and notable bias.