We have just witnessed the flurry of accusations hurled at Facebook on the recent conclusion of the United States presidential debate. While struggling to keep up with the numerous information overload, I suspect many of us were cynical towards online news sources to begin with. So the question is how do we navigate through this still evolving age of digital information? How do you spot fake news? Below are my the steps I would approach the issue.
Verify with reputable news organization
While this may seem to be the first logical step towards consuming digital media, I have to say that this is still a good approach that we can take. Evidently if the initial users who shared the unverified news would have taken this simple approach before sharing, there would be infinitely lesser of such future occurrences.
Having a mindset of personal responsibility
Consider the impact of what might be shared on other users. This starts with each individual and with a collective effort towards having a personal responsibility, we are that much closer to having more accurate digital information. Each of us have a part to play in ensuring the quality of content shared. Whether you have a large following or otherwise, you would have to consider the fact that the recent fake news issue was started with just a tiny following of 40 followers.
If in doubt, do not share
In the age of “click share and then think”, we must really take a step back before clicking the share button. One of the reasons why fake news being circulated is increasing is due to the fact that each of us has the temptation of wanting to be the first to share. However, we can easily see how this has backfired and we are probably hitting the share button far too often than we should. If there is a part of you that tells you that it could be false, do not share it at all. It would serve you much better and the rest of the internet community would thank you for refraining from sharing unverified news. Perhaps ask yourself, “I might be the first to share, but am I the first to be wrong?”.
In summary, with each individual developing a sense personal responsibility, together we can curate digital information a little better each day.