The wild popularity of social media platforms like Facebook and twitter has certainly reshaped conversations by giving many people platforms but has also contributed significantly to the fake news, misinformation and propaganda as anyone publishes, shares stories without fact checking or verifying them.
Social media obiquity has made it difficult to identify the source of an information or news therefore making it difficult to authenticate them. The sad and unfortunate event is that the mainstream media which is widely trusted and respected has fallen victim of spreading uncorroborated news thereby misleading the public and putting their trust and reputation in great peril.
There are ways however where you can easily identify fake news. Below are the five major ways you can spot them;
Check the Source
Be keen on the source of news. Reputable and well-established media institutions will high likely share correct and verified news and information compared to tabloid, blogs, gossip pages and random individuals. Some of these web pages and platforms looks legitimate by trying to use similar logos, images, identical names with reputable institutions to hoodwinked people into believing misinformation.
These fake news in most occasions raises alarm and worry. This is strategic to draw attention from the readers and generate public emotions. These sensational stories should be critically evaluated and checked. Identify the motives and the intentions of the author and whether it is for public spread of news or evoking fury and emotions.
Check alternative platforms, media houses
Sensational stories if true will be likely shared by other respectable sources but if it is not then the chances of news being doctored and untrue are high. Check many autonomous sources before believing any alarming and emotive news flowing in social media or mainstream media. Alternative platforms can easily corroborate the news thereby making it believable.
News media like CNN, BBC, NYTIMES have rigorous editorials boards that will certainly corroborate and confirm the news before sharing them.
Pay attention to evidence
Credible and factual news will have tones of evidence that accompanies its reporting accompanied by consistent narrative and the eye-witness accounts that can be corroborated but fake news will have scanty evidence which will be hard to believe or appeal
Don’t trust images or videos
The current editing software can edit images and videos and pass a total non-factual information and can mislead therefore as much as images and videos appeal, do not trust them as they can be easily edited and modified to pass a narrative.
Therefore, the governments and the organizations are waging war against spread of misinformation by coming up with tough laws, it’s a duty of everyone to spot the fake news to avoid false and untruth narrative it is passing to the general public.