The media is an integral part of our lives. It opens us to various walks of life and shows us many opportunities. The news that we receive can, however, always be misleading with the advent of technology.
As a concerned citizen, one should never ever do anything based on fake news. Everybody must know these important techniques to check out the authenticity of news. There have been a lot of studies conducted on this particular problem. Scientists have experimentally confirmed the extent to which, a person can influence a huge mass of sensible and educated people through social media. Fake news about hiring in the industry, inaccurate portrayal of technological advancements and biased advertisement of different brands related health, education and finances can prove to be catastrophic for the student community.
Fake news has crept into the larger picture now with many countries worried about diplomatic and constitutional proceedings being adversely affected by the states like Germany, France, China, ITaly and many more. Dedicated sites for fake news, hackers breaking into authentic sites and spreading misinformation have gone to the extent of affecting the US presidential election. A huge source of these news updates is social media- primarily Facebook and Twitter.
- Look for quotations. Snaps of tweets from reporters, interview excerpts and video clips of conversations are the most obvious witnesses to the truthfulness of a report.
- Newspapers with bias: There are certain papers that have an inclination towards a certain viewpoint i.e it might look like they are taking sides. Be it political, religious or personal. These sources are the ones which need to be identified by the users and should be careful in analysing and weighing the given scenario. The user should learn to navigate through biased opinions.
- Look for comments. Scrolling through the comments would give an idea about the authenticity of the news. If you have knowledge about some issue and come across a fake article, always let the readers know that it is a fake article in the comment section. In case of e-media the comment box is sometimes a definitive indicator of the truthfulness of any news.
- Death of a celebrity: This is a very common thing these days. You will suddenly hear that some famous person is dead. Few website does this in order to generate a lot of views and makes the site come into the limelight. After an hour or so of rapid traversal of news, the fake news is detected, but by that time, the one to release such news has done his bit.
- Check the date. Sometimes facts are twisted to make an impression of fake news. This is possible by using outdated facts and put them into the current context, thereby altering the data to be conveyed to the reader. Check the date on the byline and the dates of all the incidents stated if you think anything is suspicious.
- Reputation of the source. Some sources are well known for delivering perfect details. If it is one of such sources, you may have the luxury of blindly believing them. Conversely, if the reputed papers do not follow up, the story may be fake.
- Prediction of disaster or great scientific breakthrough. Such mind-boggling news does not appear on a random blog or a chain message through WhatsApp. If NASA has to say something about a catastrophe or the University of Wisconsin come up with a cure for some dangerous disease, it will appear on their own website or research papers first- followed by heavyweight news agencies.
This is a form of cyber-crime. This type of news can become very dangerous and can do much more damage than spread misinformation. It is on the way to being used as a weapon and the best way to deal with it is to make the target audience aware of the techniques needed to detect similar news.