Curbing the menace of "FAKE NEWS"



The term 'Fake news' is quite popular for some time now. And it has changed drastically how content is perceived among common people. For big democratic countries like USA and India, it has caused serious problems that shaped the course of future.

In India, fake news
 through WhatsApp about child lifting has resulted in mob lynching incidents. In one of those, a mob suspected five people to be "child lifters" and thrashed them to death. And there were episodes of violence between castes and religions and interfered with public policies.

In United States, the term fake news was widespread in 2016 presidential elections. Donald Trump uses the term to describe negative press coverage of his presidency.


This has given opportunity to Chinese Communist Party to criticize Western democracy and press freedom.


And fake news is not just consumed by uneducated people. According to Jeff Green of Trade Desk, well-educated persons are also consumers or victims of fake news.


While this may not be a direct privacy concern, fake news can hurt a person's privacy if targeted against him/her. This makes this topic worrying for privacy minded people.



What exactly is fake news

Fake news is kind of misinformation or hoaxes being circulated in media. The media may be traditional print, broadcast news media, or online social media. While this may be easily spread over social media, but this kind of news may find it's way in mainstream media as well.

The intention behind may be many things. Online news sites may want to increase their ad and clicks-based revenue in a wrong way regardless of factual accuracy.


Broadcast media or newspapers may have intention to damage an entity or a person politically or financially.


And this fake news simply becomes viral with other media circulating it because it becomes widespread.


We leave rest of 'fake news' definition and it's history to a YouTube channel - America Uncovered with their video below.





Kinds of fake news

Social media has changed the way we depend on media. And misinformation online can be easily widespread just because of shares and 'clickbaits".


1. Misleading content

When a media content wants to hide real facts and lead you to a wrong idea or impression, it becomes misleading. This is done for false propaganda for an issue or individual.

2. Fabricated content

This content 100% false and is generated for causing harm to an individual for own advantage. Usually done by politicians and even they pay for this kind of content.

3. False context

Under this type of fake news, the content is genuine and shared with false contextual information.

4. Satire/Parody

This is done just for fooling and with no intention to harm anyone. Just like viral Instagram posts and memes of celebrities.

5. Imposter content

This type of content seems from a legitimate source but are actually false. Like a fake news maker will make CNN.com.co website with fake content that will look like CNN.com.


Fake websites making incident in Kenya


An example incident is about high profile news agency BBC being targeted by fake news in Kenya 2017 elections.

6. False connection

In this type of content, there may be use of title of a post or visual content which do not support the content at all.

7. Manipulated content

Manipulated content simply means deliberately making someone think in a particular way. In fake news media, this is done for false motives.

But one more thing, Media manipulation is used by journalists for good too.

Our job as bloggers and a media is to use the content to make people do or think things. For some people, a thinking that we want them to think about may be out of reach of their mind. But not for false things. :)

How to stay away from fake news.

As said earlier, fake news is also consumed among well-educated individuals. And to counter fake news, the people who spread the fake news should be countered.

Also people who consume fake news and react on them(may be negatively) are also equally responsible.

And as some content gets viral or spreads across masses through social media, there is a chance that it might get away from real truth. If the real truth was something else, and got viral with different intentions of people.

According to International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, following are eight ways to counter fake news.


1. CONSIDER THE SOURCE

When you are reading the news or whichever thing you suspect as fake, you can investigate about the site or the source. Like from where they got content from, can the site be relied on, etc.

2. READ BEYOND

When you read news from a source, try reading further on same topic on multiple websites.

This will give you a broad picture of the content and clarify your doubts on whether it is true or not.

3. CHECK THE AUTHOR

After you have checked the source, you can search for authors whether they are to be trusted or not.

Also when a fake news get spread across media, some outlets are quick to cover them.

And sometimes without verifying the content. That causes problem for that time. Afterwards, if the content is fake, nobody bothers about it and forget it.

4. SUPPORTING SOURCES

After you have went through the content, it is time to go through content which they include to support it. Like link to another site.

5. CHECK THE DATE

Don't be frightened if someone sends you content which activity occurred 10 years ago.

6. IS IT A JOKE

Some sources deliberately make content just for fun. And just understand it and forget about it.

7. CHECK YOUR BIASES

News sources want you to have a picture of the content in their way.

It is good to understand their views. But don't just be blind about it. Have your own opinion and think about it in your way

8. ASK THE EXPERTS

Consult experts whether the content is legitimate or not.

For example, for security breaches I go for the security researchers for a breaches like ransomware attack or malware.

If not verified by experts, don't test things out yourself.



Conclusion

It is a need of society to stay alert on fake news and not supporting it. If you are vigilant enough to counter it, it can prove good for yourself and people around you.

For extra bit of satisfaction, I recommend you to use NewsGuard for Edge, Chrome and Firefox.

What are your opinions! Let us know in comments.

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