How to Spot Real and Fake News

What is Fake News?

  • News articles that aren’t true. These are entirely concocted stories designed to get people believe something wrong, buy some product or visit some website.
  • Stories that still have some truth, but are not reliable. A journalist, for instance –, quotes only a part of what a politician says, giving a false perception of its meaning. Again, this may be clearly intentional, to convince readers of a certain point of view, or it may be the result of an innocent error. It attracts an audience quickly and can become entrenched as an “urban myth” anyway.

Where does Fake News originate:

Fake news is generally nothing new. But, what’s new is how easy it is to tremendously share the information – true as well as false. Social media platforms allow nearly anyone to publish their opinions to the world or share stories. The trouble is that most people don’t confirm the source of the material they view online before sharing it, which can lead to faster disinformation, or even “going viral.” At the same time, the original source of newspaper articles is becoming more difficult to identify, which can make it difficult to analyse their correctness.

FAKE NEWS: Spain's government warns against deluge of online ...

That has given rise to a tsunami of fake news. In fact, one study revealed that during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, more than 25 per cent of American citizens visited a fake news website in a six-week period. Yet, there aren’t just fake news reports online. Co-workers who chatter through the cubicle or while browsing print publications, for example, failing to check their facts, are also guilty of spreading misinformation, even if accidentally.

The Impact of Fake News at Work:

Studies suggest that 59 per cent of people are worried about, and for good reason, the impact fake news has on the workplace! Some people would start thinking, for example, that they no longer need evidence to back up their contentions. Some are all starting to distrust the facts. They stop paying attention to industry reports, and withdraw from official communication in the workplace, slowing their professional development and growth. Ultimately, that can destroy the learning culture of an organization.

Fake news also can influence behaviour. It allows people to concoct excuses, reject suggestions of others, exaggerate the facts and spread rumours This can create partitioned, anxious places of work where individuals are cynical and undecided who to trust.

They may even begin to resent you if they believe that people in authority have lied to them, or that they suspect the information they are working with. It can drain the excitement, passion and ambition people need to work and succeed. Likewise misinformation and fake news can harm your business. For example, fabricated reviews of your goods or inaccurate financial reports can cause serious damage to your reputations.

Ways to Detect Fake News:

  1. Developing an Analytical Mind-set:

Which means keeping your emotional reaction to these stories in check is important. Instead, approach logically and critically what you are seeing and hearing.

Ask yourself, “Why was this story written? Is it to persuade me of a certain view point? Is it selling me a specific product? Or is it trying to get me to go to a certain website? Am I being triggered?”

  • Check Who Reports the Story:

Has anybody else caught up on the story? What other sources are saying of this?

Avoid hopping to the conclusion that all output from main stream media (MSM) is fake. This may be as imprudent as following any rumour or conspiracy theory. Professional global news agencies like Reuters, CNN and the BBC have rigorous editorial guidelines and extensive networks of highly trained reporters, so they’re a good starting point. But nobody is impartial and anybody can make a mistake, so keep on looking.

  • Examine the truth :

A reliable news report should contain plenty of facts – such as expert interviews, survey results and official statistics. Or thorough, coherent and substantiated eye-witness accounts of on-scene people. If these are missing, then ask!

Does the facts show certainly something happened? Or, were the facts chosen or “distorted” to back up a particular perspective?