It goes without saying that two-thirds of fake news being passed around revolve around politics; the impact these fake news have on the society cannot be undermined. One remarkable thing about fake news is that it is written to sate people’s wants, thus making people very gullible to accept the information false or not.
Due to the recent widespread roots of social media in the day-to-day activities of human existence, it is safe to say a lot of this disinformation is spread through social media. A lot of this news is mostly written to mislead or damage someone politically – generating and propagating fake news to mislead masses during elections, or to criticise someone for his or her actions. Some are just written for financial gains by creating content topics that will attract an audience to their blogs or websites to generate ad revenues.
Due to the fact that trends today revolve around the use of social media as a means or source of getting information rather than the print or broadcast news source, it does not take too much imagination to realise that people can easily be influenced by what they see on the social media handles as a result of peer influence. These peer influence – sharing and forwarding of messages (news) to their friends in other to get them informed or to show how informed they are – boosts the spread of this news. The interesting thing about these social media feeds is that they are easily circulated without any credible source confirming its legitimacy. Added to the fact that trolls – people who sow discord on the internet by posting hate speeches or inflammatory messages – cannot be pinpointed, their misleading information is freely circulated between people.
As a result of these, it is essential for everybody to take some measures in reducing the amount of this false information being passed around. There are many things that every individual should always ensure they do when evaluating any piece of information they are faced with. Some of the ways to curb false news are listed below:
• Distinguishing personal opinion of the author of a write-up (editorials, letters to the editors, podcast discussions, etc.) and actual news will go a long way in stopping the spread of false news.
• Fact-checking of news found via social media from other reputable news sites by google searching, it will go a long way in adding more credibility to the story being spread to the general public.
• Sometimes, the only way to avoid fake news is simply by directly accessing credible news websites or purchasing a newspaper as this would save one the trouble of fact-checking each trending piece of information in their newsfeed.
It is of utmost importance to always approach a new piece of information or news without any biased standing. This would give every one of us the ability to trust our better judgment when processing the news.
By Nureni Ibrahim
Email address: [email protected]