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Friday, May 27, 2022

How to expose fake news

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The web is full of fake videos, propaganda articles and private posts. With these twelve tricks you will be able to distinguish the serious news from the false ones.

© Niklas Wesner for ZEIT ONLINE

Whether it is climate change, Corona or now the war in Ukraine, a lot of dubious information is circulating about all this. They are shared on Telegram or WhatsApp or posted on Facebook and Twitter, many of which look like articles from official newspapers and TV media or live reports from the crisis area. It is difficult to see who and what is behind. Twelve tricks you can use to verify the authenticity and accuracy of information.

1) Is the information plausible?

You are surfing the web and you come across incredible news, exciting videos of the war in the United States. Ukraine or tips for dealing with Corona? Pause for a moment and consider whether the information you are reading is plausible. Looks like someone discovered something sensational? What can be seen in the video contradicts everything that has been reported so far? As a general rule of thumb, remember that the crazier something seems, the more likely it is not true. However, the reverse conclusion that everything that seems plausible is also plausible does not apply. If you think there may be something: ask some simple questions to check the credibility and seriousness of the information.

2) Who posted or sent the information to you?

The sender of a message is a first indication of the seriousness of the information. Did he or she take the submitted photo himself, experience what was described, or is there content here that has been widely shared but not verified? Ask where they got the information. Sometimes a short and active Google search helps to realize: something is being replicated here that cannot be verified. Or you can find more serious information on the same topic right away. Look at who the person is, what else they usually post, and what qualifies them to consider this information important or relevant. Sometimes, more research has already been done on this point. Sometimes people forward or post something to you because it supports their opinion. But that doesn’t make them experts. They rarely check what they share beforehand.

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