Say NO to Fake News
Making the World a Better Place For All of Us
The aim of this campaign is to give you the tools and information to identify and react to Fake News.
The issue of disinformation and particularly fake news have lately become infamously popular in the world. It has a huge power to change how young people think, behave and feel.
1. What is fake news and why do people create it?
There is a wide range of definitions for fake news. Most definitions include “false information or news intentionally created to influence views and opinions or as a joke and which are spread in the media, in particular on the Internet”. Fake news is any information that is deliberately meant to be wholly or largely false or misleading.
Motivations for creating fake news include financial gain – by getting people to click on sites so they’re exposed to advertising – or to persuade others to take an action, purchase a product, or support or oppose a cause or political candidate.
Some people perpetuate fake news just or the sake of deceiving people or as a prank. Honest mistakes happen and they are not fake news. But those who publish or say something that they later find out to be untrue have an obligation to correct the record.
2. How do we explain the difference between facts and opinions?
Both fact and opinion help us understand the world around us. Facts are accurate reports of what happened or what exists, while opinions are an interpretation of the meaning or impact, usually from an individual’s perspective. It’s legitimate for an opinion to be influenced by a person’s world view, but even those who express an opinion should back them up with facts rather than inaccurate information.
3. How can you spot fake news?
a) Check the domain
What is the domain name? Is the URL legitimate? Be wary of unusual top-level domain names, like “.xyz”, “.com.co”, “.ma”, “.lo” etc. Even the second-level domain like “abcnews” or “breakingnews” may look credible, “abcnews.com.co” or “breakingnews.xyz” are different and illegitimate sites.
b) Check the spelling
Did you notice Trump’s slightly different user name?
If you notice splling erors [sic], lots of ALL CAPS, or dramatic punctuation ?!?!?! it is a good sign to believe it is fake news. Reputable sources have high proofreading and grammatical standards.
Does the news sound biased or one-sided? Does it sound exaggerated or extreme? Does it intend to provoke a strong reaction?
If so, check if it is also followed by other mainstream media, if not, be skeptical and cautious.
c) Check the publication point of view
Read the “About Us” section for more insight into the publisher, leadership, and mission statement. Also, confirm that you have not stumbled upon a satirical news site, like Times New Roman.
d) Check the author
Is the author mentioned? Is there proof that it is a real person? Can the author be contacted? Has he or she published anything else? Be suspicious if the byline, which names the author, is a celebrity writing for a little-known site or if the author’s contact information is a G-mail address.
e) Check if the information is available on other websites
If not, then it’s very likely that the journalistic jury is still out on whether this information is valid. You can also copy-paste part of an article or title and research in search engines if this story has been contested or labeled as fake news by others. Sometimes however, you might find sites that are just repeating the fake news. There are fact checker sites that exist in many countries and you can try to find out if the story is true or false.
f) Visit a fact-checking website
There are many good ones, like FactCheck.org, International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), PolitiFact.com, or Snopes.com. Do your own detective work and feel more confident in being able to identify fact vs. fiction.
4. What is the right thing to do when you spot fake news?
While it’s never OK to spread fake news, it is OK to comment on links to fake stories with your own correction, to help set the record straight. Also, if you shared a fake news and discovered after it is not true, make sure you correct your mistake and help other people to not get fooled and spread panic.
Take back control of your mind, thoughts and beliefs!
The information available on this page is extracted form the following sources:
- Christina Nagler, 4 Tips for Spotting a Fake News Story, https://www.summer.harvard.edu/inside-summer/4-tips-spotting-fake-news-story, 20.03.2020.
- Barbara Buchegger, Matthias Jax, Tetiana Katsbert, Jochen Schell, Didactic Concept – Fostering internet literacy for youth workers and teachers with a focus on fake news, 2017.
- Kerry Gallagher, J.D. & Larry Magid, Media Literacy & Fake News, 2017.
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