Since last year, it seems like the recurring theme in the media and social media is pinpointing fake news. The “post-truth” era gave us misinformed articles spread across platforms and a few officials who, sadly, perpetuate them as well.
While I’d like to believe that many people are discerning of what they see online by now, there are still those who slip up and share the wrong stories on their feeds. What’s the solution? Karen Davila gave tips during yesterday’s Scout Creative Talks that might help.
#1 Don’t just read the headlines
Many are guilty of reacting to the headline without reading the story. This is also the reason why people can’t verify the facts right away.
#2 Who’s the source?
Whether it’s a blog or a legitimate news site, you should always check who ran the story. But Karen also cited that even respected media companies have released false stories too. “The difference between these blogs and the media is that the media has accountability. If they’re wrong, they’ll issue an erratum and correct their mistake,” she said.
#3 Is the author real?
“Check if the author is really a writer and if they’re a real person, not a troll.”
#4 Supporting sources
Always cross-check information from different sites to see if the article is accurate. The truth is not always one-sided.
Karen said that there are articles that seem too “outrageous” to be true. It’s possible that these were made for satirical purposes, just like what The Onion and The Professional Heckler do. If you’re unsure, look for their About page. It’s there that sites explain if their content is a parody.
#7 Are your biases in check?
“These days, there are only two colors. It’s either you’re red or yellow. If you’re against the red, then you’re considered a ‘bayaran’ or ‘dilawan,’” Karen said. “But you can be anti-red and yellow. You don’t have to be hardcore pro.” Additionally, your biases also say a lot about how you’ll react to the content you read. So it’s important to be objective and critical.
#8 Ask expert advice
Unsure of the information you found? Feel free to ask a media practitioner or someone in the field of politics, health, etc. to verify the facts.