Guest Column: Spread the truth; not Facebook news

April Newell

Our nation is virtually united via Facebook. Today, this social network is also a primary news source to many of its users, especially to the younger generation. Recently, there has been post after post about KONY 2012; an organization by non-profit group Invisible Children, supporting the arrest of criminal Joseph Kony, a man who is allegedly responsible for many child abductions and deaths.

Although the goal is admirable, the propaganda being published by the group has been proven very misleading and needs to be shown for what it is. So many high school students including myself have wanted to know the details about Kony, and I believe it is right to share the truth. The 11th KONY 2012 video (the only one that went viral) was ultimately created to persuade uninformed Americans to make donations and help the cause.

With more free speech than some people can handle, Facebook has gone over the top with KONY 2012 mania. Facebook users are being manipulated for their money and are losing a free way of thinking.

As a journalist, I believe it is wrong to base opinions on Facebook news. Although professional news stations such as CNN and ABC have Facebook pages, I do not count most news on Facebook as reliable. When I first started reading about KONY 2012, I was immediately skeptical and was astounded by the amount of supportive Facebook statuses I saw about sending money to the organization and helping to capture Kony.

I was intrigued and watched the KONY 2012 video that was so popular, and I was moved by it. The video pulls at your heartstrings, and you almost ask yourself how you can help all these children who are being enslaved to be soldiers. I understood why it was such a big deal to all of my Facebook friends, but still I felt the need to investigate further.

It did not take long for me to find plenty of articles giving finance statistics and reasons to keep your money and refrain from donating to KONY 2012.

According to, an independent news source, and Grant Oyston, the National Communications Chair for CISV, a nonprofit that hosts international friendship-building programs in over 60 countries, Invisible Children spent over $8,600,000 of their donations last year, with only 32 percent of the money actually going towards direct services. Most of the donations are spent on filmmaking, awareness and merchandise.

If that was not shocking enough, Invisible Children is pro-military intervention against Kony, and the 32 percent of money that is donated is sent directly to the Ugandan and Sudan People’s Liberation Military, who are both liable for multiple rape accusations and other crimes throughout their countries. Invisible Children claims that the Ugandan military is more equipped to capture Kony than any other affected country, when in actuality, Kony has not been active in Uganda since 2006, which is even admitted subtly in the KONY 2012 video.

After reading more about KONY 2012, I became disgusted with the idea of sending money to a ‘non-profit’ that is doing absolutely nothing for who they say they are, and I became more upset because of the original cause; children being kidnapped to become child-soldiers, and how they are not receiving the help they need through KONY 2012.

I believe it is my responsibility to talk to as many people as I can about being uninformed and the importance of not being ignorant to cause such as this one. I have talked a couple of friends out of buying the “Kony Kit,” which includes bracelets and support posters, because it is ridiculous. I have shared my opinions and articles with family and friends in order to spread a different kind of awareness; the truth. As a journalism student upholding the right to free speech, I believe it is my responsibility to share it.