Definition: false stories that appear to be news spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke, Cambridge English Dictionary
The viral load of fake news has hit an all-time high. I was saddened by the eruption of claims in Zimbabwe that the cure to HIV/AIDS had been found again. Then I browsed some online headlines from India that reported many killings taking place due to rumors started and spread viciously on Whatsapp.
It seems the virus is here to stay and all one can do is arm themselves with common sense, a grain of salt and the discipline to research a topic before believing everything we hear or see. I came across a Harvard article that provided 4tips to combat fake news.
- Does the source meet academic citation standards
- Shady domain names (usually add .co to a legitimate looking .com site)
- Note the publication’s point of view
- Note the author (a Gmail email address is apparently a red flag)
These points are valid but not practical for the every-day user. We have become a society that is consumed by distractions and not willing to do extra homework but absorb information that is bombarded at us. We all need to take care to not believe everything that is released even if it is from a credible source. The only resolve would be to be critical of everything and attempt to be neutral before we take a side without knowing the full story. Many people are suffering and dying for a fake cause.