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How to Spot Fake News

image showing types of fake news 2021 source wikipedia
Courtesy: Claire Wardle, First Draft News.

Have you ever stopped in your tracks scrolling through your Facebook feed..encountering a weirdest piece of news only to discover later that it was fake? Here are some of the ways that you can detect fake news.

Let’s face it, the social media is swamping with fake, fabricated news stories, images, snippets -only to grab eyeballs and garner clicks and maximize circulation. Do you know Wikipedia actually has a list of websites that are known to publish fake news or hoaxes?

SO how do you really go about being a discerning reader and train your eyes and ears to spot fake news and nip it at the bud?

Here are a few facts to keep in mind:

Do not judge a book by its cover, likewise do not jump at the headlines, take time to read a few lines and understand the whole concept before accepting news as real.

Judge the source. If you encounter breaking news from an unknown/unreliable source, website or a pop-up on your social media feed, make sure you search other reliable sources to ascertain the facts. If that news makes a no-show on other media sources, you know better than to trust it.

Images can tell a thousand stories, yet images do not always tell the true story. Photo-shopped images or images from a past date are often used to create sensational or fabricated stories. Check for dates or verify the source whenever you encounter such news in future.

Not all popular social media feeds are true. The number of views, likes, tweets or re-tweets a feed garners does not vouch for its validity. Remember, there are robots and professionals out there to do the boosting!

Fake news is not a new phenomenon; distortion of facts or adding some frills and whistles to a news story is not unheard of in the news industry. However, presenting of a sensitive fact in an insensitive way to satiate a political agenda, or blowing an insignificant fact out of proportion for optimum circulation for fiscal profit has become a trend in the 21st century.

Conclusion:

The good news is while technology has provided us with the curse of fake news it has also provided us with umpteenth options to spot fake news and verify its validity.  So act smart and be your own judge.

The major point to look for in fake news detection is if the “information” tells you how you ought to feel about something. Genuine fact-based news will not tell you how you can feel, as they are only delivering information.

It is even easily detectable in the headline sometimes. A good news article should only deliver the information and allow you to make your judgments and ideas about the article without trying to make you buy theirs.

Remember fake news has the capacity to- spread rumours, hurt sentiments, enrage mobs, tarnish characters, create political uproar and social unrest. So next time you re-tweet or share or even like particular news, make sure its true!

Team Gangtokian Saturday, February 6, 2021, 00:00 [IST]

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