Fake news seems to be everywhere but as individuals we have the power and responsibility to tackle it head on.
While the internet is a wonderful tool for expressing our opinion instantly, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that people are quick to confuse sentiments with hard, proven facts. This is how fake news spreads.
One of the reasons why it is getting out of control is that many websites aim toward attracting more clicks, so they will throw in any unchecked material either to be the first to break the news or to increase traffic. What most people have failed to realise is that fake news hurts especially people who are connected to the story. Let’s take a look at an example below- a complete misrepresentation of the people of Eritrea.
Guess what? Fake news spread faster than wildfire.
Fake news? So what is it, actually?
Many of us have been using the term fake news for the last few years, but do we all actually know what it looks like?
Sensationalist fake news is often used to generate clicks onto a webpage to improve ad revenue. The spread of false information has also been used to influence the way people think about an issue. We have to be more careful when consuming information especially online as the internet can be a bit more subtle.
Many governments are making the spread of fakenews and hate speech an offence. Rather than wait for the government to react, it is important that as individuals we all take responsibility to make the world a safer and better place by ensuring that what ever we share is factful.
You should join us to help stop the spread of fake news as it could be yours tomorrow. For a start, let’s use this slogan;
Think before you share: six tips
Here are some things to consider when you’re surfing the digital ocean and are confronted with an interesting item you may want to share.
What source does the story come from? Have you heard of it, and does it appear to be reputable? Is the piece serious or is it intended as satire?
Consider the headline again. Is it more than a catchy headline or one that is accurate to the presented story? See if there is actually a story there at all and get suspicious if the item is short and seems based on nothing, compared to the headline.
Does the piece exaggerate fears that seem strangely close to your own? This means that you may have been targeted based on your search history and are now being manipulated over to false articles created to make you feel fear about an issue.
Is the story current? Check the date to make sure you’re not ready to react over a two-year old news, whether real or fake. Be careful as sometimes old stories resurface.
Be careful what links you click on in the article. If there are links, hold yourself from clicking as they could be phishing you or sending you to a site that could infect your device with malware if they aren’t legit.
Check the item on reputable platforms like factcheck.org and others which are dedicated to debunking false stories online.
Now that you know, please share with everyone on your contact list and especially on social media. The more we do to fight against the spread of fake news, the better our lot.
Have you been affected by fakenews before, please share your experience with us in the comment section.