It’s just another day, you are sitting in your room scrolling through social media. You see a headline under the international news section that triggered you. You can see the picture posted along with it. You share that news with an aggressive caption and condemn the whole event. Everyone in your friend list sees it and someone asks the source of the news in the comments. But, you don’t know the source because you didn’t confirm the news from any source before sharing it. And turns out, the news was fake!
This can be embarrassing and can damage your standing in your circle. In this era of social media, our timelines are bombarded with different news and headlines. Some of them can be true but some of them can be fake and baseless. Do not get yourself fooled by these catchy and manipulative lines and do not share anything on your social media without checking the source. Anyone can be the victim of this fake news, so here are some tips which can help you to differentiate between real and fake news:
Before learning to differentiate between real and fake news, first, we need to know what fake news is. There can be majorly two kinds of fake news:
Stories that never happened: there can be the news regarding an event or a story that actually never happened and is spread just to create chaos and misinformation among people.
Stories that are half true: there can be anything breaking news in Pakistan, you see the headline which intrigues you and you open it but they only tell you the half and one-sided story. For example, you see a site with the saying of a politician in the commas. You think how a person sitting in this post can say such a thing, but that is just the half version of what he actually said. They don’t show you the whole picture. So do not make an opinion upon these fake and half-told stories.
How does fake news spread?
Fake news is not something new, just the scale of its spread is different and massive now. In the era of social media, it is very easy for everyone to share information. Everyone has the liberty to make a site or a page and post anything, and everyone wants to be the first one to share the news and get more likes and shares. This new urge to get viral is one of the reasons for spreading fake news. People make up a scene and make it viral with half a story and other people share it without any research.
It is not just about the local news, but people also spread misinformation on an international level. Just recently, New Zealand canceled their tour in Pakistan for cricket because of the fake security threats spread by someone on social media. This was the breaking news in Pakistan for a week. This fake news can cause serious damage to any country and its reputation. We saw our national issue become international news real quick. And Pakistan suffered a great loss because of this fake news.
What can you do?
In these times when your timelines are flooded with news and information. How can you spot the real and the fake news? How do you know what’s right and what’s wrong? Because you don’t want to compromise on your repute, and you don’t want to be the victim of fake news. Here are some steps you can follow to prevent yourself from this:
First of all, this is very important to develop a critical mindset. You should be able to think and judge things on your own. You have to question things before believing anything blindly. This is the difference between careless and wise people, they always pay attention to the details. Before getting emotional or irrational, always ask yourself, who wrote this story and who posted this? Is it the whole story? Is the language accurate? This is the first step to deciding anything. Your mind can spot anything real or fake if you think critically.
Always check the source
Do not share anything without checking the source. If you’re reading international news, confirm it with any credible international channel or site. Watching anything related to health, check it with the world health organization (WHO). If they are reporting it, then it will be true. Watching any statistics regarding your country, there are reports available on the internet, first read the report then share the news.
And finally, use your common sense. See who else is reporting the news, see the pictures or videos attached to it, if they look right. Check the evidence and fact-check the statistics. Do fall for anything written under breaking news in Pakistan, because it might be fake.