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Spotting Fake News

A guide to navigating the world of fake news and information

How to spot Fake News and Fake Information

Now we know what fake information is, how do we start to recognize it in our daily lives?. 

A good definition comes from Jeff Hancock of Stanford University:

Compared to real news, fake news tends to include information that is more surprising, upsetting or geared to trigger anger or anxiety. Any information that fits that (and a lot of coronavirus news can) should be double checked. Other cues that should raise suspicion include unknown sources, unusual numbers of endorsements (or likes) and memes that focus on partisan topics”  (Hancock, J. (2020). People’s uncertainty about the novel coronavirus can lead them to believe misinformation. Stanford University.)

Where we go for our daily news and information has grown exponentially in the last decade.

                                                             Studio 93.ie                                                       

Where once we had a couple of television stations and national or local papers, our ability to garner information is now infinite and worldwide, especially with the advent of social media. A 2019 Irish survey showed that 61% of people in Ireland were concerned about fake news and its prevalence: RTE News Fake News Survey

It’s also a challenge when you can encounter supposed scientific material, how do you ensure that it is valid and correct?. We can see with this Irish Times article, we are constantly being warned about the dangers of Science and Fake Information: Irish Times Science and Fake News

Trinity College Dublin is at the forefront of tackling this challenge, taking part in a collaborative project, funded by the EU, to tackle fake news.

 

There have also been other articles on How to distinguish between Fake News and Science and Ted Talks regards online fakery of images and videos, Impossible Photography

The tools are out there for us to employ in our fight against fake information, both in our academic and everyday lives, we have to be judicious in when to apply them.