The Dark Side of Social Media During a National Tragedy

Merve Yılmaz
4 min readFeb 15, 2023
Photo by Piotr Cichosz on Unsplash

Recently, a massive earthquake hit Türkiye, and since then, all we see on social media and news is about the disaster. While it’s understandable for news to report on the earthquake but social media has become a breeding ground for unhealthy content and strange types of individuals.

I myself have deleted all my social media accounts to preserve my mental health, and this decision was mainly due to the disturbing content being shared on social media. While some people use their platforms to provide important and necessary support, others exploit the disaster for their gain.

The privacy of the victims is also disregarded, as their stories are shared directly on social media, causing them even more distress. Yes, it’s important to recognize the potential harm that can come from consuming media in today’s age.

The media can have a profound impact on how we view others, and it’s essential to be mindful of how we use it. For instance, sharing graphic images or videos of victims of violent crimes can be extremely distressing to those who have connections to them. The use of dramatic music as a backdrop to such images can also be detrimental to the mental health of those exposed to it.

It’s crucial to be empathetic to the people portrayed in these stories, to recognize their humanity, and to treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve. It’s vital to use media in a responsible and ethical manner, with an emphasis on empathy and compassion.The entire situation has left me feeling isolated from the world, and every time I see a collapsed building or a victim’s body, it affects me deeply.

As if that wasn’t enough, I have also witnessed a trend of people who use their charitable acts as a means of getting likes on social media. I exclude those who guide people to the right channels for donations, but why share a picture of what you’ve donated? It is a competition to prove who is the better person, and it saddens me.

In times like these, we should all be doing what we can to help, but why do we need to prove it to the world? My belief is that we should give without showing off or expecting anything in return. Plus, I am confident that most people are doing their best to aid in any way possible. So why are we trying to prove ourselves to others?

It’s true that some people use social media for good during a crisis, but the constant chaos and bombardment of such negative content on my daily feed was becoming unbearable. So, I deleted my social media accounts three days ago, and it has given me some peace of mind. I feel more at ease and able to focus on my everyday life, and not be bombarded with disturbing news and images.

It’s not my intention to accuse or blame anyone, but rather to highlight the misuse of social media during a crisis. I understand that everyone copes with grief in their way, but it is essential to use social media in a healthy and responsible manner, especially in times of a disaster. We all need to take care of our mental well-being, and if that means distancing ourselves from social media for a while, then so be it.

While the earthquake had devastating consequences, we must learn from the aftermath and how we can better utilize social media in times of crisis. It’s vital that we use social media responsibly and not take advantage of the disaster. It’s important to remember that our focus should be on helping the victims and the affected areas rather than receiving validation from social media.

I want to make it clear that my intention was not to offend anyone with my words, but rather to shed light on a topic that I believe is important to discuss. Medium is like my diary, and I believe it is important to use this tool in a compassionate manner. We should always consider the impact our words and actions can have on others, and strive to use media to create positive change and empathy in the world.

In conclusion, I want to thank you, for taking the time to engage with this important topic. I hope that this discussion has provided some insight into the power of media and how we can use it to make a positive impact in the world. Remember, if you want to help those who have been affected by tragedies, consider reading my previous article on ways to support victims and their families.

Let’s continue to use media as a force for good and work towards a world filled with empathy, compassion, and understanding.



Merve Yılmaz

• UX Designer •Istanbul Technical University •Top writer in Self Improvement, Health, Life Lessons & Life.