Social media provides excellent opportunities to share and communicate with others. Despite having lots of positive impacts, there are also many negative impacts of social media. In recent years, the massive circulation of fake news on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. has become a matter of concern. More than half of social media users observe fake news every day! Fake news, misinformation, and incorrect, misleading, or false advice can spread around the world before anyone has a chance to correct it.
In this article, we’ll discuss some steps to avoid fake news and provide tips to figure out the truth and identify trustworthy sources.
Facts and Evidence
The best way to find the truth is to evaluate the evidence. If any news is suspicious and has sensitive content, you may want to critically analyze and consider what you are reading. Even anything claiming to be a screenshot of news could be manipulated or photoshopped! There are some tests often used to check the reliability of any news, for example, The CRAAP Test (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose) and The P.R.O.V.E.N. Test for Evaluating Sources (Purpose, Relevance, Objectivity, Verifiability, Expertise, Newness), etc.
Be Mindful and Careful
Every time you surf the internet or social media, just keep in mind that each action matters. You may find so many bizarre or provocative news content. Just be cautious before you give any like, share, or tweet. A smart act would be evaluating the news before you give any reaction to it. Reacting to any post of misinformation will further its spread.
If you encounter any news which doesn’t sound right, you may consider verifying the fact. The best way to check is on Google. With less effort, you may find the actual truth. Sometimes the theme of the content in questions might be satirical or humorous. Fact checking would make this clear to you. Also, some popular websites you can use to check the validity of a sources are: FactCheck for politics-related content, snopes.com for fact checking current news and events, and AllSides to read about different perspectives related to the same issue.
Do Your Research and be Unbias
Sharing something on social media with sensitive content or on specific topics without fact checking first may be misleading to others. So, before you share, do your own research. Use Google and other trusted media sources and government sites to do fact check! Also, you need to be aware of any bias the original writer may have. Try to practice critical thinking and forming your own opinions as a result of your research rather than just spouting off what you hear others say.
Observe the URL
Some websites may look very familiar and trustworthy! One way to check the credibility is by looking at the web address in the address bar of the browser. Explore the web address whether it is correctly spelled or not and how it ends. For example, www.techserveto.co is not the right one for you to use, while the correct one is www.techserveto.com. Here the presence or absence of a single letter ‘m’ matters. Besides, there may be clickbait or sponsored contents which attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page. So it is necessary to be cautious before clicking any of the sensational link or headline!
If you find anyone of your friends or family is believing and/or spreading any fake news, you may act proactively to better inform that individual by sharing trustworthy evidence so that they can read them. There are several dependable and reputed news agencies.
The following are good sources to use as references:
Spend Less Time Online
Online misinformation negatively affects our psychology, daily life, and behaviors and worsens ongoing crisis. It makes it difficult to identify what is accurate and reliable information. Some even promote stigma, discrimination, or violence. You may consider taking periodic breaks away from social media to give yourself a break from all the false news circulating in society. Your well-being and mental health is important! Try spending quality time partaking in your preferred hobbies, learning new skills and practicing good habits away from social media.