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Internet Safety – Fake News, Clickbait and Propaganda (Part 4)


The internet is rife with fake and exaggerated stories – some of which are easy to spot, others, not so much.

In the last of our articles on fake news and clickbait, we have some more helpful tips to share to help you avoid falling victim to misinformation.



Search for Multiple Sources

A genuine piece of news will most likely have been covered by more than one news outlet, although it may be presented in a different manner.

News aggregation services like Google News and Apple News will often have a “More Sources” or “Full Coverage” button to allow you to read what multiple sources have written about the same story. If the story doesn’t appear on any other legitimate news websites, it’s quite likely that the article is either fake or a misrepresentation or misinterpretation. This can happen particularly often with scientific or political stories

If the subject is something expansive that you’re genuinely interested in, the best course of action is to search for the subject online, such as with Google or Bing, or a Fact-checking website like Fullfact.org or Snopes; if you prefer to search offline, even the library can often help you find useful and relevant information.


Avoiding Confirmation Bias

It’s easy to dismiss things we don’t like the idea of as ridiculous or stupid, but the reality can be much different. Confirmation bias is the tendency to read, interpret, and search for information that only supports your pre-existing knowledge. When sharing, reading, or looking for articles, it’s good to keep in mind that you may be subject to this, and to try and keep an open mind to other points of view. When reading around on subjects, critical articles can be a useful source of additional details, as well as those with supporting information.

Fake news comes in all forms – Sharing or citing fake news that supports your own beliefs or values is just as damaging, as it can undermine legitimate concerns and the news articles reporting on them.


If in Doubt – Don’t Share It.

The best advice is obviously to not share news articles without first checking to make sure the story is genuine. Some people don’t think of that when they read a headline, though – they’ll be annoyed and share the article, real or not, based on the headline alone.

Inform yourself before sharing, and refrain from sharing an article as a knee-jerk reaction.

If you’re in any doubt as to the veracity of the story – don’t share it!


Need help or advice to keep your team safe and secure, or have questions about IT security? We can help! Give us a call on 0121 312 1500 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk
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