Every day, every hour, every minute a new article is published, a new video is uploaded.
Standing in front of this huge number of information make people feel perplexed. In no time, this information is spread, we aren’t even sure about their accuracy even though they may be very delicate: they might be about a celebrity ‘s personal life, political debates, etc. everyone is like “ OMG! These are some juicy news, I need to share them”, without taking a minute to check their reliability. We start sharing them in our social media, inform our surroundings about what we have read, watched or heard and they do the same and the cycle goes on. From a 2 lines article or a 30 seconds speech, it turns to a public debate, with people who are for or against and most of the time, we witness a conflict between the two parties. And in the middle of all that, one announcement comes and we find out that it was a RUMOR. But how is it just a RUMOR when everyone is talking about it???
Today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups... The question is: What is the real? What kind of information should we believe?
Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms, it is very important to know how to differentiate between real and fake news. But first, let’s clarify one important thing: What are Fake News?
There are two kinds of fake news:
Stories that aren't true. These are deliberately invented stories designed to make people believe something false, to buy a certain product, or to visit a certain website.
Stories that have some truth, but aren't 100 percent accurate.
This kind of fake news is biased and aims to convince readers of a certain political or ideological viewpoint. Stories like this can also be down to mistakes or "urban myths."
Where Does Fake News Come From?
Fake news is nothing new. But, what is new is how easy it's become to share information – both true and false – on a massive scale.
Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr allow almost anyone to publish their thoughts or share stories to the world.
The trouble is that most people don't check the source of the material that they view online before they share it, which can lead to fake news spreading quickly or even "going viral."
This has led to a flood of fake news. In fact, one study found that more than 25 percent of Americans visited a fake news website in a six-week period during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
three Ways to Spot Fake News
Develop a Critical Mindset
One of the main reasons fake news is such a big issue is that it is often believable, which means it's easy to get caught out. Many fake news stories are also written to create a "shock" value.
This means it's essential that you keep your emotional response to such stories in check. Instead, approach what you see and hear rationally and critically.
Ask yourself, "Why has this story been written? Is it to persuade me of a certain viewpoint? Is it selling me a particular product? Or is it trying to get me to click through to another website?"
Check the Source
If you come across a story from a source that you've never heard of before, do some digging! Find out a bit more about the publisher – is it a professional and well-known news agency or is it someone's personal blog?
Check the URL of the page, too. (A URL, or Uniform Resource Locator, is a web address that helps browsers to find a site on the internet.) Strange-sounding URLs that end in extensions like ".infonet" and ".offer," rather than ".com" or ".co.uk," or that contain spelling errors, may mean that the source is suspect.
If the information is something that you've been told by another person, consider his reputation and professional experience. Is he known for his expertise on the matter? Or does he tend to exaggerate the truth?
Examine the Evidence
A credible news story will include plenty of facts – quotes from experts, survey data and official statistics, for example. If these are missing or the source is an unknown expert or a "friend," question it!
Does the evidence prove that something definitely happened? Or, have the facts been "twisted" to back up a particular viewpoint?