Fake News!

From Donald trump to conspiracy theories there is fake news all around us, so how do we know what is true?

Published by Steve Foreman on Dec 23, 2020

We have heard this term a great deal this year. From Donald Trump tweeting that anything he disagrees with is fake news, to the conspiracy theorists saying Coronavirus does not exist and then the many fake claims around the vaccine, fake news is rife. So how do we differentiate between real and fake news.

It can be difficult, certain fake news items can contain some truths but aren’t wholly accurate. Then there are those people who say factual, accurate articles are fake news. How do we know what is true? There are many stories on social media that are shocking, yet sound so believable.

It is therefore important that we read the news with a critical eye and do not get caught up in the emotion of the piece. Just because it marries with our view of the world, it doesn’t mean it is necessarily factually correct. Checking the source of the story is always a good place to start. Is it from a reputable source or is it just an individual trying to spread rumour and gossip? Are there basic spelling mistakes, do the links in the article actually work, is it written by someone who is an authority in this particular subject? There are now several fact checking sites available on the internet should you wish to double check! For those in the UK FullFact is the UK’s leading independent fact checking organisation.

It is also a good idea to check if other large media outlets are reporting the same story. For example, if the BBC and CNN are reporting it, there is a good chance it is true as they have large editorial teams to ensure accuracy.

In these days of photoshop and other editing software, even images can be manipulated, so be careful not to take these at face value.

Perhaps the most important thing to do, is to ask yourself if it sounds right? Before you clink that link for a free PlayStation, insurance refund or indeed that rich relative in Africa leaving you millions of pounds, ask yourself does that sound likely? Really?

So, before you forward on that email or social media post, just take a minute, and ask yourself does that sound true. Now more than ever it is important to try and stop the spread of fake news.