In an era where information spreads faster than ever and is easily accessible via the Internet, it can be said that convenience and communication are at their peak. However, with such speed in sharing details online, there also come potential dangers. The average netizen may be prone to consuming and disseminating misinformation, more commonly known as ‘fake news.’ Unfortunately, it has become a common occurrence in well-known social media sites, especially on Facebook. Spreading fake news online can lead from mere miscommunication to more severe cases such as defamation or cyber libel. To avoid falling victim to digital misinformation, here is a list of things to consider when you’re out for a scroll in your news feed and when you encounter a news article. 

1. Read the whole article.

Don’t just read the headline of an article. Share it for your peers to see, and call it the whole story. Verify the information presented by reading the article’s content in full detail to determine its intended message. 

2. Check the source

Who is the author and publisher of the news? Is it from a reliable news outlet or media organization? Remember to check the background of who published the information to see if it is too inaccurate and biased or intended only as satire. Also, take note that no matter the number of likes, shares, or interactions it has, if it is misleading, it is.  

3. Google it

Using a search engine will provide more information if you are curious about something you found on social media. Within just a few seconds, you could check if other reliable news sites are reporting the same thing, if it is relevant or timely, and if there are other related articles to it.

4. Consider various mediums

Besides checking out and confirming cited sources from articles published by various news sites and organizations online, it is also best to refer to other platforms or mediums such as news channels from TV, frequencies from radio, or even newspapers. That way, you have a variety of sources as your basis when verifying something online. 

5. Think before you share

Evaluate yourself and lay down all the things you need to consider to determine if what you will be sharing is fact or misinformation. Recall if the content you will be spreading has reliable evidence to support its claims, if it is relevant and conforming to the signs of the times, and if its purpose is appropriate and unintended for bias. Lorenzo Alday and Uno Sta. Ana // Artwork by Eljen Cruz

References:

University of West Florida. (2020). Fact-checking: the facts. https://libguides.uwf.edu/c.php?g=609513&p=4274530

Scout. (2016). How to fact check what you share: a simple guide. https://www.scoutmag.ph/news/politics/fact-check-share-simple-guide-scout-20161024

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