Why Fake News Reduces Public Safety and Confidence

Disinformation is dangerous, undermining morale and security

Fake news is a rising problem, encouraging hate crimes and social outcry. But you can fight back against fakers by becoming knowledgeable about how to spot bogus news rather than being taken in by corrupt reports from news sites.

Disinformation is rife on the Internet and TV. Even if you missed John Garofalo lying to Fox News about having been a decorated Navy Seal, or how fake news spread by Russian propaganda undermined the public’s faith in American democracy during the election season, you can’t escape the impact of deceptive information carried by the media.

Disinformation isn’t new. In the past, fake news spread like wildfire when Hitler took control of the German media to belittle the Jewish community. Journalists who later attempted to expose the extermination of Jews were arrested and executed after being accused of spreading fake news themselves.

Today, news coverage has the power to spark terrorist attacks and lower morale. People are fed up with not knowing whether they can trust news sources. No wonder American journalist and news anchor Dan Rather’s plucky digital news feed News and Guts garnered more than 800k page followers soon after it launched in 2017. Promising to deliver reliable information boosted its popularity.

If you are riled by fake news, you can do your best to stop it spreading. You could report information you know to be false on Facebook and self-check news.

Finding reputable news sites online

Examine the website URL before you accept a site as a reliable source of knowledge. Those ending in co, for instance, rather than com may raise suspicions. Reputable news organizations have their own domains and a professional “about us” page where you can discover their mission and learn about their founders. If the page is missing or looks unprofessional, the site might be bogus.

Further, check for quotes, expert opinions, and research. Genuine news reports contain data you can follow-up elsewhere and use statements and studies. Some fakers are savvy and will make up quotes, but a quick Google search might be all that’s needed to test authenticity.

Many fake news reports contain dramatic headlines; a giveaway if you want to spot their validity. Overblown statements and wild or meaningless headlines show you’re reading propaganda. Some such sites include half-truths to confuse people, but use wording you won’t see on earnest news sites.

The creators of fake news sites don’t take their own photographs either. They rely on images from the Internet. If you right click on a picture and carry out a Google search, you’ll find they exist in many other places online. You’ll also know a story is probably false if the image alongside it isn’t relevant; it’s just filling a gap.

Fake news is sometimes considered amusing in the right context when you know it is phony and simply pokes fun. However, disinformation can also be dangerous, encouraging hate crimes and lowering confidence and public safety. If you’ve had enough, you can check news sources for authenticity and report offensive data that could cause outrage over news that isn’t real.

Copyright © 2019 Bridget Webber. All rights reserved

Independent content creator, ghostwriter, author https://tinyurl.com/y2cgqhgv mental health advocate, and poet. bridgetwebbber@outlook.com

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