The internet is a wonderful place. We all know we can find information, meet new people, have debates, express opinions, play games and read news on the internet, and many things in our lives wouldn’t exist without it. For example, I wouldn’t have found out information about my university course without being able to look it up on the internet. TWE also wouldn’t exist!
However, one major drawback of the internet is the idea of ‘fake news’ as President Trump likes to call it. Fake news is simply that, articles posted (mainly online) that are completely fake and fabricated, and full of lies. One more well known tidbit of fake news is rumours of celebrities dying, which is weird, I know. So to avoid promoting any kind of fake news on the internet and potentially causing a panic, here’s what to do.
First of all, check where the news is coming from. Is it a website you recognise, like The Daily Mail, the BBC or The Guardian? Or is it a site you’ve never even heard of? If you’ve never heard of the site, it’s likely to be fake. Also, how many places has it been reported in? If it has been reported across more than 2 major news broadcasters then it is definitely true (as these sites will already fact check for themselves before posting it!).
Check the internet! If the news is about someone dying, check that person’s verified Twitter or Instagram page as it is likely that a spokesperson would have posted something there to let fans know what has happened. It is also likely that someone has already debunked the fake news and is letting everyone know the truth. If it is about a crime, check that area’s police Twitter as most areas (particularly in the UK) will Tweet about any major/serious crimes.
Spreading fake news can be dangerous. While a joke about a celebrity dying can occasionally be funny, there have been numerous reports of people posting about terrorist attacks and political gaffes that never even happened. My advice to you is to always carefully read what you see on the internet, and if you can, try not to retweet/reblog/share anything to do with serious news from an account that isn’t verified.
Here is a brilliant resource with more information on how to spot fake news! https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/fake-news.htm