Monday, January 9, 2017

How To Uncover Fake News

Fake news has become a big problem. Made up news, most often with the intention of stirring up drama and emotions or even hatred, are not only found on the spam and populism friendly sites Facebook and Twitter.

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Maybe two months ago, I found an article in my LinkedIn feed that claimed President Obama said he would not vacate the office in the case that Trump wins the election. The fake news article had about 1200 "likes" at the point when I saw it.


The German magazine Spiegel reported today that they started an investigation against a woman for making up a story about the rape of a young girl by a refugee. Germany announced that they will actively follow up on fake news and that the producers will be prosecuted.

It´s not an easy thing to regulate. What about innocent mistakes? Comedy?  Disses?

Generally, I am not a friend of sacrificing freedom for "security", but in this case, I am 100 % for applying every inch of punishment in accordance with the law to stop people who fabricate fake news with the sole purpose of creating hatred.

In times when members of the human species set refugee homes on fire and in some parts of the world people with a certain look cannot feel safe anymore; when Latinos get attacked, and Muslims beaten up, people have to stand together for what is right - even if it comes at the cost of losing a piece of freedom.

How to spot fake news:

  1. Common sense
  2. Is the source legit?
    Or is it maybe Breitbart? A few weeks ago a piece of fake news by the "Denver Guardian" went viral. There is no such thing as a "Denver Guardian" and a simple Google search would have confirmed that.

    Also ... is it a brand new site or perhaps a site with many questionable articles?
  3. Article vs Preview
    Many people do not read articles anymore. They rely on headline and preview. Shady publications use this to their advantage.

  4. Check the source
    Is it maybe a super old article or has it been "interpreted" until it was faintly reminiscent of the truth?
  5. Where is the information from?
    Check for i. e. "dpa" "reuters" or other news agencies and when in doubt, check that you find the news on their sites too.
  6. How new is the "new" video or picture? 
    Use the google reverse search:
  7. Is it comedy or satire?

Please, people, whatever your political conviction might be: Don´t become a monster worse than the one you try to hunt. 

Violence is not ok and fabricating or distributing content that might lead to violence or hatred are NOT OK. 

What would you do if you shared a piece of fake hate news that pushed an unstable person over the edge? 

I sounded angry today, but I will not apologize. That makes me smad (sad and mad).