Young people's herd-like tendency to follow social or political groups online leaves them open to mindset manipulation, a journalism professor has warned. Many young adults have lost the ability to think independently through their over-reliance on social media such as Facebook, Alice Lee Yuet-lin said at a recent seminar. "Young people nowadays are prone to influence from a particular set of social or political groups, as they tend to follow like-minded people on social media sites and therefore fail to expose themselves to alternative views," Lee said. Lee, an associate professor in the journalism department at Baptist University, was speaking at a symposium on the use of the internet by today's youth. "Facebook can totally manipulate your emotions and knowledge structure by allowing you to view only messages and posts of a certain nature," she said. "Besides being a means of communication and a source of news it is a tool for others to monitor, and to a greater extent, indoctrinate" political views. Lee, vice-chairwoman of the Association of Media Education, said that because of this herd mentality, many young internet users lacked a critical mindset to withstand influence from social and political groups, especially in a polarised society where views on different issues were divided. Lee said the lack of news judgment by the young and their tendency to consume news reports indiscriminately and without assessing their credibility was a cause for concern. "A news report by The Onion [a satirical website] claiming that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had been rated as the world's most charismatic head of state was picked up and re-posted by a mainland news outlet," she said. "Of course this was a false report and therefore readers should be discerning when it comes to the consumption of news."