Thursday, February 15, 2018

Expert advice on how to fight Fake News

The term ‘Fake News’ was named Word of the Year 2017 by the Collins Dictionary, after it saw an unprecedented usage increase 365% since 2016. Unfortunately, it was the 2016 US Presidential election that motivated this avalanche of fake news created to sway public opinion, favor some candidates and sow discord went viral.
A recent study conducted by the Politics Department at Princeton University revealed that one in four Americans read at least one false news story purposely fabricated to mislead. Understandably, the magnitude of this problem has election officials looking for ways to create appropriate conditions for future elections. Having correct information available for all voters is a crucial condition for all free, fair and transparent elections.
Luckily, non-governmental organizations, academics, journalists and communications experts are now joining election officials in trying to educate the population on how to detect and combat fake news.
Here are three tips recommended to stop the spread of false information:
-          Identify the source and follow your instinct: In this digital era, thousands of web pages and social media accounts are created each day. Therefore, when you read an article, you must check the reliability and trajectory of the journalist, “influencer” or media outlet.
In case you do not recognize who is behind the piece, it is always good to google the headline or part of the story to see if it has been replicated in other reliable outlets.

-          Follow the Three S rule: Before sharing a piece of news, first STOP to think if the title of the article is relevant. It may be pure clickbait material. Then, do your SEARCH on the author of the article to verify its veracity. And last but not least, SUBSCRIBE to newsletters or bulletins of reliable media to receive truthful and accurate information.

-          Use tools for fact check: Given how fake news have proliferated, and the impact they have had, many fact-checking organizations or media outlets have emerged., Politifact and Snopes can come handy for those who want to know if something is real or the product of a Fake News laboratory.
In addition to these tips, it is important to keep in mind that, during a campaign period, you should always keep an eye on social networks, making a lists of verified accounts of political parties, media and candidates to follow.
And one last recommendation. Do not get carried away by what others share. Develop your own database. By doing so, not only will you stay safe and informed, but you will educate others by sharing truthful and reliable news.