Fake news is a rampant problem today, not just in the Philippines but worldwide. With modern technology, it’s much easier to make, spread, and sustain fake news. The Cambridge Dictionary defines fake news as “false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media and usually created to influence political views or as a joke.”
The problem with fake news is that they look legitimate on the surface. They follow the news format but don’t adhere to the rules of truth and fairness. These clickbait articles are compelling and believable, resulting in some people sharing them instantly without taking time to read or check sources. They rely on headlines and photos instead. Some people only want to read the story that best suits their narrative. Therefore, it’s important to stay vigilant online.
Here are some tips on how to battle the fake news epidemic:
1. Know what to watch out for.
Fake news stories usually contain manipulated images, sketchy headlines, and distorted timelines. It’s probably fake news if the headlines contain exclamation points and catchy absurd claims. It’s also fake news if the images and videos are real but are taken out of context.
2. Cross reference. Better yet, know which ones are fake news web sites.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines' (CBCP) released a partial list of fake news web sites in June 2017. The list includes sites such as trendingnewsportal, theguard1an, and netizensph. Keep in mind that if you’re not familiar with a site, check the article’s sources or look at its “About” section. The URL could also be a distortion of an authentic news site’s name.
3. Report fake news posts and articles.
You can report fake news and help stop it from spreading when you see it on Facebook. You can do this by clicking the arrow in the top right-hand corner of a post. After reporting, you can hide or block all posts from that page. Facebook is also working on measures to help combat the problem of fake news by identifying fake news accounts and monitoring user interaction.
Have you ever been the victim of fake news? Share your thoughts by commenting here or tag us on Facebook and Instagram @iamclaireph.