The problem of misinformation and fake news has become a thorn in the flesh of social media executives and users.
Social networks are increasingly the tools for spreading such fake information. A lot of people just see information online, and without waiting to confirm its authenticity, share it to others. Obviously, we still have a long way to go as regards ‘digital literacy.
Currently, the world – especially Europe- is facing a problem caused by the menace of fake news as there is now a measles outbreak in some European countries. This outbreak was caused by the problem of misinformation. A couple of anti-vax posts started this year with claims that vaccinating children leads to bigger problem in future.
As a result of this anti-vax news, a large number of parents stopped vaccinating their children, leading to the outbreak. This is just one of the many instances that fake news can jeopardize lives. There can be fake news about absolutely everything, including your church and politics.
However, there is the need to fight this menace. Earlier we brought you reports of Facebook’s readiness to clamp down on fake news by deleting every anti-vax post on its platform. A commendable effort by Facebook, which is now being emulated by other social networks. Nevertheless, you as a person and internet user can help to curb the spread of fake news just by knowing how to identify it. In case you don’t know how, here are 12 tips to identify fake news on social media:
Reflect on how you encountered the news
Consider the source of the news
Consider the headline and main body
Gauge your emotional reaction to the news
Ask yourself some of these questions:
- Can you confirm using search engines that the news is authentic?
- Is the news linked to other quality sources?
- Is there a massive amount of pop-ups or ads when the news came up?
- Does the news have any confirmable examples?
- Is this information designed for easy sharing?
Always keep in mind that if you are not sure of any information, don’t share it!