Stop the spread of misinformation

Fake news – everyone hates it, yet it still exists, and if anything is becoming more of a problem every year.

Designed to influence, deceive, manipulate, mislead, and in some cases amuse people, it’s dangerous, promotes sensationalism, and can damage the reputation of people, businesses, and brands. 

Photo Credit - Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash 

Not a month goes by without someone famous being wrongly pronounced as dead, or worse still someone innocently shares a post about water being infected in a primary school without properly reading it or checking the facts. When this happened last year, it caused unprecedented levels of panic among staff, children and parents. It was only when someone realised that the article was over two years old, that the situation calmed down.

A changing world

Years ago, we got our news from trusted sources, journalists and media outlets that followed strict codes of practice. However, the growth of the internet, and in particular social media platforms, has opened up different ways to create, publish, share, like, comment, and consume information quickly. 

With many people now getting their news online, there has been an increase in fake news or hoax stories. This is mainly because the internet, social media sites and networks have:

And

Personal responsibility

Fake news stories tend to increase in times of political turbulence and economic instability. In recent years, we don’t have to look far for some notable examples. Covid 19, vaccinations, the American elections and the Ukraine War have spawned millions of fake stories, and with people keen to engage, this has led to all kinds of problems, not least for the real news providers. 

Any of us can add to the mountain of misinformation out there, we just need to remember to take responsibility for our own contributions.

Check before you act

My advice is simple. Take the time to evaluate online stories before you like, share or comment on them. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is, However, by following my six easy steps, you’ll be playing a vital role in stopping the spread of misinformation:

If you’re still struggling to decide if something is true or not, then we recommend following this adage. “If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.” Only by working together, can we eliminate misinformation, bullying and other undesirable online behaviours.


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