With growing internet and expanding social media, exchanging news, opinions, and data have become very easy. However, this is being misused also for creating rumors and spreading fake news. It is the responsibility of every netizen to identify fake news on social media networks and flag it and share only genuine content. There are few safeguards which will help in the spotting of fake news on social media which are as follows:
Read Beyond the Headline
In today’s fast life and hectic schedules, people’s attention span is getting smaller. They hardly read beyond the headline and skim across when reading any content. In a study conducted by the American Press Institute, only 4 out of 10 Americans reported that they dig deeper into any news and read beyond the headline. This is a dangerous trend as people do not read beyond headlines and have no time or interest to verify the contents of news on social media. In another study by Columbia University and a French National Institute, it was revealed that of the total stories shared on social media, 59% of the stories did not receive any click. This means that people were sharing the stories without even reading them. People should read the complete content of the story and verify it before sharing it blindly.
Check the Source of News
The Internet is a medium where anyone from anywhere can broadcast their thoughts and also access other’s perspectives. It is important to understand that all sources sharing the news or data are not alike in credibility and authenticity. The sources should be checked before believing any trending news or video on social media. There are many malicious sources and links available online which spread such hoaxes and misguide people. The internet is full of resources which help people create fake templates and websites of popular media houses like BBC, NY Times etc. Malicious websites use similar URL to reputed original source and rearrange few letters to deceive the readers. Being careful and identifying such fake news links can help significantly in spotting fake news on social media networks.
Logically Analyze the News
Logical thinking is important to spot fake news. A Yale University study points out that people who apply their logical thinking and analyze what they are reading carefully, are less likely to believe what they are reading. In this age of news traveling faster than ever on social media, it is critical to apply rational and logical thinking to everything that people read on social media. Questioning the news, videos etc. with such a logical perspective helps filter the fake news on social media.
Install Browser Plug-in
There are plug-ins available for browsers which checks and then verifies the links and on a webpage which contain unreliable sources and domains. Free Chrome plug-ins like Fake News Alert, Fake News Detector, Fake News Blocker etc. are quite handy as they cross-check the website being browsed with an existing database of unreliable websites. Though these plug-ins are not perfect and are evolving and getting better at identifying fake news spreading across social media networks.
Verify the News with Fact Checking Sources
Any news should be verified with fact-checking sources before accepting it as real. There are many hoaxes checking online sources like Snopes, PolitiFact etc. which help flag hoax and false news trending on the social media networks.