Fake news. False! You won’t believe what happened next….

With the ever expanding internet, more people just trying to cash some of that ad-revenue money and most importantly, possibly less critical minds out there, fake news are being shared left and right.

I’ve written about fake and scam competitions that took place on Facebook before, for example Scamiversary – You won!. I figured it was time to cover this subject.

Have people become less critical?

Just for clarification – these are all my own personal opinions.

I don’t necessarily think that people have become less critical, but I think it could have to do with the immediate source of the news. If you read news on BBC or CNN, you probably suck it all in and figure it’s legit – for good reason. You might not initially think that news from a news site you haven’t heard of before is legit, but what if your friends or family share a link to an article. Do we tend to assume that they’ve done the fact-checking necessary? Do we get struck by a quick case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), or do we itch to be one of the first ones to share these gruesome news, which it usually is.

It could also be that people in general are super naive and we’re seeing more cases of fake news out there, as a consequence of how easily people are connected through social media. Let’s face it – it’s easier to spread news now, than sending an MMS with a picture from a no-name news paper some years ago.

I’ll leave it for your own interpretation of what happens, but personally, I believe people in general have become a little less critical, simply because they feel they can trust the news, if it was already shared by someone they know.

I still don’t get it – examples, please?

Right, so before I deactivated my Facebook account a few months ago (best decision in forever, by the way), I saw a post shared on Facebook. The post was about a Chinese man whose body was full of tapeworms after having eaten sashimi. The post was accompanied with nasty x-ray pictures as icing on the cake for legitimacy. This had thousands of people going nuts and swore to never ever again eat sashimi.. Or sushi! This was however fake news.

Today, I randomly spot an article with the headline: “Warning: Potential destructive asteroid heading directly towards earth“. My initial thought was “ok, we ded”. A 2 second pause, and then… “Wait… This is the first I’m hearing of this”. To be fair, as you continue to read the article, they do start using words like “dangerously close” instead of “definite hit”, at least.

How to check if the story is true then?

A quick Google search is often all it takes! Just search the most essential words of the headline of the article you’re checking out. This is how I came across this awesome website snopes.com – I promise this is no advertisement! Basically this website is a fact-checking machine!

They covered the sashimi story: Click here to read more

They covered the asteroid story: Click here to read more

And as the beautiful citizens of Earth that they are, they cover many many more articles. This is no paid promotion, merely a shout out!

Good job!

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