Fake news isnt something new, but it’s been increasing much more lately expecially due to the Covid-19 pandemic forcing the public to want to know more and read more.
Fake news comes from anyone who wishes to share their thoughts or stories to the world and there is no regulation pretty much on whatever that is being circled around people’s own social media platforms.
Misinformation and fake news doesn’t only spread unnecessary fear and confusion but also harm those who are part of the message that is travelling around. Invented reviews of your products or inaccurate financial updates, for example, can do serious reputational damage.
Here six ways to differentiate fake news from news:
1) Be critical
Much of fake news is written with a shock value that is purposed to surprise readers on sight. Think critically and ask yourself “Why has this story been written? Is it to persuade me of a certain viewpoint? Is it selling me a particular product? Or is it trying to get me to click through to another website? Am I being triggered?”.
2) Check the source of the story
Every story has a source and if you have doubts, do some digging! Research about the author or publisher and decide if it’s trustworthy. Be aware that much of the credibility can be a false; so, if you see a suspicious post that looks like it’s from the World Health Organization (WHO), for example, check the WHO’s own site to verify that it’s really there.
3) Who else is reporting on the story
If the story is in fact true, some other news agency is bound to pick up on it. Follow professional news agencies and check if the story is up there in order to filter out what is and what is not.
4) Examine the statements
If it’s credible, there should be a lot of facts included in the story such as quotes from experts, data, surveys and statistics. Does the evidence prove that something definitely happened? Or, have the facts been selected or “twisted” to back up a particular viewpoint?
5) Don’t take images at face value
Images can be altered in many ways to show another story these days; even if it’s 100% correct, it can be altered to represent something else. You can use tools such as Google Reverse Image Search to check where an image originated and whether it has been altered.
6) Check if it sounds right
Use common sense and read the story to yourself. Does it sound true? If it doesn’t sound true to you, the story probably isn’t as you choose what you believe.