5 Tips to spot Fake News

How many times do we inform ourselves by reading only the news headline, without consuming its content, and read till the end the opinions of others? Is this information or misrepresentation of information? How does it influence our own well-being and to what extent does it make us replicators of fake news?

Today’s cyberspace is riddled with media and news. Information tainted by multiple points of view arrives from all sides, headlines marked by the ideological intention of their authors. The fake news phenomenon makes a significant load of questionable information viral , which is transmitted from one user to another on any platform and makes it more difficult to distinguish what is true and what is false. However, However, even if perception changes, the facts do not.

It often happens to me that some of my friends share a news headline with their personal comment about it, and after a few minutes, dozens of comments debating it appear . In this process, the initial topic almost always turns into political debates or pitched battles between one user and another. Each one defends their point of view, attacks the opinions of others and flies the flag of his ideology as the force and source of their truth.

If you want to get closer to the facts, and have valid information, I offer you these tips

How to recognize fake news?

Find the source of the news

You should always go to the source. Although the Internet gives us the miracle of having access to several means, there are undoubtedly some that are more reliable than others. You must read where the news comes from, so that you have real knowledge of the subject of interest.

If the information comes from an account or profile on social networks, investigate if it really exists and locate it by name and surname. In this other post, you have tips on how to find people on the Internet.

If the origin were to be another type of website, look for what type of topics does it handle regularly and pay attention if it only promotes one perspective or point of view.

Professional magazines use their own, expert-based review system that raises the quality of the materials they publish. This happens with large news media, which, although not entirely impartial, have professionals who produce informative quality content.

To trust the news, you can take some details into account :
  1. Accuracy: a connection is established between the authors, the source that publishes it, the provided contact info. Pages with official domains are preferred
  2. Content objectivity: it is focused more on facts and less on personal criteria, also containing little publicity
  3. Current affairs/ Regularity: you can look at the publication date and see that the page is updated regularly.

Do some research on the topic

While it is true that in the modern world time is essential, and we consume speed as a way of life: a sandwich, a coffee to go or a portable charger for mobile phones because we do not have time to stop. When it comes to information, we must stop, we do not want to be victims of fear and confusion. Take a couple of minutes and investigate.

If you receive a chain of messages with audio, image, text or video, try to summarize the content and identify keywords, and followed by the terms WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram (or another channel through which you received it) enter them in the search engines offered by Google, Yahoo !, Google Scholar.

Other resources such as Google Images or Google Reverse Image Search, InVid or TinEye are very useful to access the original source of the image or video and identify if they have been manipulated.

Each search engine has its own algorithm; the main results may vary in each of them. But if it is a real news it is very likely that you will find out how it has been published by other media.

#1 Enemy of Fake News: The facts.

Once you have browsed the web nad researched the news, you must filter the reality. There must be a pattern that repeats itself between one and the other news media. Embrace that pattern as the possible truth.

But the truth, the specific fact does not translate into information. The facts take place in historical, economic, political and social contexts that condition them.

Try to keep yourself updated on international events, so that you have a global vision and a better understanding of the problem.

How to identify fake news? There are no infallible methods, but there are steps to follow.

Don’t allow yourself to be influenced

International political conflicts, environmental deterioration, diseases against which science has yet to find cures, the death of our idols, the instability of the world economy and many other issues, generate negative news that directly affects our state of mind. The information advantage has become a self-destructive weapon. Even being aware of the danger, we launch ourselves into the abyss of risk. Communications have not made us more aware, we have not learned the lesson.

It is inevitable feeling helpless in the face of the avalanche of information and powerless in the face of not always immediately identifying fake news. Our contribution, regardless of our position and social function, is to create awareness of what is happening around us and promote education and knowledge. Take advantage of the news that comes to you, good or bad, to study, investigate, and educate others. Take advantage of them.

Build your own criteria

Once you have knowledge of the subject itself, you will feel safe to express your own criteria. In an area of debate, any opinion is valid, we all have the right to express it.

But now your criteria are conditioned by knowledge, and that is the secret.

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Gabriela B. Carballosa

Let versatility and freedom worship personality.

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