Identifying fake news and information on the Internet

What is fake news, and how do you recognise it? Fake news is created to confuse, mislead, damage, and get your attention with the intent to manipulate something or someone. Fake news is different from misinformation. Misinformation is deceptive information or news that is shared or created, but it doesn't intend to manipulate people like fake news. Anyone can share information, videos, or photos online that are fake, so it's vital to check out the facts before sharing what you've seen.

What's the best way to tell if what you're reading is true? Ask yourself

  • Is the information from a trustworthy source? Does the source regularly publish accurate information?

  • Does it seem too far fetched or too unbelievable? Sometimes some true stories sound impossible, but not all the time.

  • Do the content and the headline match?

  • Do the quotes and statements in the article match the rest of the content? Could the quotes be taken out of context, or does something not quite add up?


What's the best way to tell if a photo or video is genuine? Ask yourself

  • Dose the sound and picture match? Or is it not matching up?

  • Is the video consistently the same quality? Or are there parts with lower quality, different lighting, or different backgrounds?

  • Does the photo look natural, or could it be photoshopped?

  • Are there gaps, or could there be missing parts of the storyline which have been edited out?


What can you do to make sure what you're reading, or watching is real?

  • Double-check the information you're reading. Do an online search to find more information and sources.

  • Think about both sides of the story and think about other points of view that may be different to yours.

  • Find well respected and reputable news outlets. For example, Government publications and mainstream media publish reliable material.


References

O'Brien, M., & Alsmadi, I. (2021). Misinformation, disinformation and hoaxes: What's the difference? https://theconversation.com/misinformation-disinformation-and-hoaxes-whats-the-difference-158491

eSafety Commission. (2019). Fake News and Information. https://www.esafety.gov.au/key-issues/fake-news-and-misinformation

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

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