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Let’s Spot Fake News

Gresheen Gift M. Libby | Eating Deadlines For Breakfast | Associate Editor

Fake news, as we know it, revolves around online media. Most if not all of us have gone through our news feeds and saw fake news being shared by friends. It’s a pretty sad sight to see, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.

After all, they were probably not taught how to distinguish fake news from real ones.

Fake news, in its simplest term, is a type of propaganda created and published with the intent to mislead people in order to damage a targeted agency, organization, or even a single person. It is often paired with sensationalized or outrageously fabricated headlines in order to increase readership. In our country, fake news is mostly created for personal political agenda.

It’s worth noting that the news that we see, hear and read have the ability to shape public opinion. It can even be dangerous if it’s interpreted the wrong way.

According to the Philippine Press Institute in its “Let’s Get Real on Fake News” forum series, there are two types of fake news:

1.) False stories that are deliberately posted online even though the person writing them knows that they are fabricated;
2.) Stories that may have some truth to them, but they’re not completely accurate. (Sourced from http://www.philpressinstitute.net/scholastic-seminar-on-fake-news/)

Additionally, there are red flags to look out for when clicking on a suspicious news article.

a.) If it is poorly written, with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes,
b.) If it comes from unreliable news sources,
c.) If the website is made to look like the original one, for example: http://www.news.abs-cbn.com is real, while http://www.news1.abs-cbn.com is fake, and;
d.)If it is designed to distort reality.

Fake news are usually shared by people to support their own biases and views. Personally, I am not here to attack them for sharing fake news because I believe that to speak is a human right, but let’s take a minute to ponder on this: the falsified news that they share may bring forth some long-term consequences.

By sharing false information on their timelines and, therefore, helping it circulate through online media, they are unknowingly contributing to one of our country’s big problems: our divided nation.

At this point, we should start being responsible readers, and even more responsible in circulating the right, validated news from reliable sources–be it in our own homes, classrooms, or in social media, and even in the people that we sit next to in public transportation. Let’s be careful. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you hear conversations about false information. It tells a lot about who we are, and how educated we seem to be. Really, it only takes a minute or two to look out for red flags on fake news when reading from a news source.

You’ve just been educated. Now, don’t make yourself look ridiculous.

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