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A Pocket Guide To Fake News

Recently in India, a woman was found dead near a forest – all because of fake news about child kidnappers in the area started circulating like wild fire. A mob pursued and lynched her, without even finding out the truth behind the rumours. Meanwhile, Filippo Menczer, IU School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering professor, Indiana, USA, published a paper in the journal Science calling for an investigation into the forces behind fake news. He estimates that the average American came across 3 fake stories in the month before the 2016 US election that saw a trumped winner.

Fake news – they are now the bane of our society. Because of how fast news spread on social media, that means that there is a ripple effect of dissemination, very fast and furious. And no one can verify them quickly enough before it is too late and fatal in some cases.

Fake news generally has 3 characteristics:

  • Factually inaccurate
  • Intention to deceive
  • Disguised as news

Here is what you can do on your part:

  • Source – Check the originating site. What is it about? What is its mission? Many fake websites have similar URLs (web address) to that of the authentic ones. Even official quotes may not necessarily be “true”, as they can easily be taken out of context to fool you.
  • Background – Sometimes it is too outlandish and ridiculous to be true. It may be just satire, which some people may not be able to figure out. Also, it may be older stories that are being recycled again.

At the end of the day, before you want to spread any news, pause. Don’t be too quick to press “Post” or “Send”. For a big story, verify between multiple authentic sources.

© LOOMI Group 2018

This article is first published on loomigroup.com

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