Fake news, propaganda, alternative facts, these things are not new. What is new is the ease at which they spread.
When it comes to ‘facts’ online a degree of scepticism and a hell lot of caution is required.
Falling for a fake news story is bad enough but helping to spread it is not just damaging for your personal reputation but that of your business credibility too.
So how do you protect yourself and your business?
Here’s five ways to help you avoid looking foolish by spreading fake news.
Go with your gut
The simplest but maybe the most important piece of advice – if something sounds a bit wrong, too good to be true or simply ridiculous it probably is.
So go with your gut, before falling for something and becoming part of the problem, do your research! Check the sources and think for yourself.
Check your facts with FullFact.org
As an independent charity FullFact is not connected to any political party or big corporation. They call themselves independent, impartial and effective.
During the election they’ve been doing some great stuff on Twitter, live tweeting alongside debates helping to confirm facts and debunk fiction. They’re a great resource to help you understand what is really going on – definitely worth a look before voting tomorrow!
— Full Fact (@FullFact) June 6, 2017
Only use trusted sources
In times of crisis we naturally want information as quickly as possible. That brings with it real dangers from those wishing to ‘profit’ from our thirst for knowledge.
In the aftermath of recent terrorist attacks there have been a number of stories designed to spread disinformation.
Don’t be part of the problem and use trusted sources – just because a Twitter account is verified doesn’t mean it can be trusted either – emergency service accounts have to be factual, so in the event of an attack or crisis they should be trusted.
Keep following this Twitter feed. We will release facts when we can – our info must be accurate
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) June 3, 2017
Become the grammar police
Typos are sometimes simply a mistake, but if they occur often, especially on a purported ‘news’ website, be suspicious!
Again, your gut should come into play. If a story just does seem right, doesn’t read write and uses broken or non-standard English you’re probably not looking at a reputable website.
Get ‘Snoopy’ with Snopes
Snopes, a project founded in 1994, is a website born out of a thirst by its founder to research urban legends and either confirm or debunk them.
It’s become a trusted source to find out the truth behind the rumours, urban legends, myths and misinformation circulating the web.
You’ll be pleased to hear Snopes confirmed the defiant lawn mowing Canadian as true.
Well, hopefully you now a feel a little more prepared to combat fake news.