In a time like this where you get almost all of your information exclusively from the internet, it can definitely be easy to fall into the trap of believing something online that turns out to be false. Mr. Pure Energy Gary Valenciano is just as worried as most people are about this problem. He has thus starred in a video along with other celebs, addressing this misinformation crisis with tips in spotting fake news.
Read on for pointers that may help you be more critical and informed!
1. "Verify the source"
Look closely at where the article sourced its information from. It would help first to look for this information on other sites online: If it's been repeated in much the same way on at least three other websites, then you can rest assured that it's legitimate. It would also be good to keep a critical eye trained on where they get their information from. For example, a survey with a handful of respondents doesn't mean much when the article talks about a whole country's opinion, or a lack of sources and quotes in the article might mean that this isn't information based on facts.
Does it come from a legitimate organization or a medical expert? This should go hand in hand with the research you've done in the previous point. A quick google search could help you find out who the organizations and people being quoted in the article are. If a doctor quoted in an article hasn't been quoted anywhere else, or doesn't have much of a presence online outside of that article, that should be something that warrants further research about the points they make. It would also be smart to look up the points of view of organizations quoted there. An organization committed to specific ideas might not be the best source for someone looking for fact-based news—the information there may come loaded with their own interpretations of things, or it might even just be a comedy site or satire.
Is the information being carried by legitimate news organizations? After all of that, the website that you're getting this information from should be something for you to look at. An unusual domain name, such as a website ending in ".com.co" instead of just ".com" should be enough to show that this might not be a legitimate website. Publication and media standards should be something to look for here, too. If a website seems to be badly laid out or designed, and if its articles have some very clear spelling or grammatical errors, then it might be best to look for this information somewhere else. A reputable website would maintain high standards for the things they publish.
4. "Don't share if not verified"
If it's not verified, don't be trigger happy. Don't forward the message. Try to avoid sharing and spreading any articles that might make any red flags from the previous points pop up for you. In fact, it might even help to report articles you might find fishy! Facebook has an option specifically for reporting suspicious or fake news, and articles reported to them are sent to be verified by an independent fact-checker which then recommends related stories closer to the real facts than what you're seeing on your feed. Copying the link of a story into Twitter's search bar can show you who else has shared it as well, and if it's been reposted multiple times by similar accounts with few followers, it might just be something worth reporting as spam, and Twitter accounts found violating these rules may be locked.
All said, Gary V couldn't be clearer in the video when he said, "Be an instrument of calmness and truth. That's what we all need at this time."
ALSO READ: Kitchen Whiz: Celeb-Concocted Recipes For Picky Veggie Eaters
Banner image by Markus Spiske via Pexels