Lies have always existed. Misleading speeches too. However, with the arrival of the internet and the consequent globalization, it became easier and easier to convey information that may seem to be true, but are not.
The journalism professor at the Centro de Comunicação e Letras (CCL) at Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie (UPM), Denise Paiero, separated some tips on how to recognize and fight fake news.
1. Be wary of the information you receive, especially from social networks
Nowadays, there are many channels for the circulation of false information, disseminated quickly through the internet. They are used to manipulate people and destroy reputations, in addition to having been used in the world even to influence elections, spread panic and give wrong information that can even put lives at risk.
Often, through instant messaging applications, such as WhatsApp, for example, the information spreads without a source, we do not know where it comes from or if the source is false. It is common to circulate audios attributed to “experts” or “people who know someone who said that”. So, the tip is simple: always be suspicious of this type of information.
2. Question the veracity of the news information
People tend to believe what meets their own thinking, especially within the “bubbles” of the internet, where we stay connected to people who think like us. Therefore, fake news that confirms or reinforces ideas and values that the person already has will easily appear to be true and will often be shared without any questioning.
If nobody assumes the source of the information, be surprised. If it looks “too good to be true” or is something very important, but it didn’t appear in other vehicles, be wary. Still, it is always good to pay attention to the date of the information. Sometimes true news, but it was published years ago, is out of context and shared, which can confuse whoever receives it.
3. Use checking websites to find out if it is fake or not
There are fact-checking sites, where very qualified professionals work and are prepared to verify and check the information produced by the correct paths, assessing whether or not what happened is true. In Brazil, Professor Denise highlights the following:
- Agency Lupa
- Fact or Fake
- Proof Project
And, for those who want to improve their knowledge about fake news, there is the “Vaza, Falsiane” project, which offers a free course on the subject.
4. See if the news was published in reliable news outlets
Well-known media outlets that actually work with journalism, whether from the mainstream or alternative media, are committed to finding out the facts. If they publish lies, their credibility (which is their greatest asset) will be affected. Vehicles that feed on fake news are not concerned with this, including, some sites that spread fake news try to camouflage themselves from journalistic sites and use the structure and resources of the news to give the lie a real guise.
It is not because it looks like journalism that it is journalism. It is essential that we always know who originally investigated and released the news. When in doubt, go after the original source.
5. Don’t share the information without being sure of its veracity
Never share something saying “I’m not sure it’s true, but I will send it anyway”. Anything can circulate on the networks and if you share it without checking it, it can be used as a tool for spreading lies. Even videos that look real, that show images and scenes, may have been edited and decontextualized.
Keep in mind that fake news feeds on shares. So don’t go ahead without being sure of the fact. If we all do this, we will be able to break the path of false news and it will no longer be strong.