The internet is a powerful tool for sharing news and information around the world at anytime but unfortunately it is not everything we come across online that is reliable. Despite the great benefits of the internet, one of its biggest challenges in this day and age is the quick spread of fake news and misinformation over the social media.
We must be conscious of the fact that we are in the internet age and as long as the internet exists, the number of internet users will continue to increase. This of course increases the spread of fake news and misinformation around the world.
However, we must be mindful of the danger of spreading a fake news or misleading information no matter how interesting, pathetic or shocking the story is. More importantly, we must educate ourselves about how to separate fact from fiction when we come across any information online.
As internet users, we all have a role to play in creating and maintaining a safer society by preventing the spread of fake news and misinformation in today’s internet age.
What is fake news?
Fake news is a false or misleading information presented as an authentic news. In most cases, it has the aim of deceiving people, damaging the reputation of a person, group, organisation etc or making money through advertisement.
Misinformation refers to false or out-of-context information that is presented as fact regardless of an intent to deceive. e.g. an outdated information.
Deepfake technology, a new technology that uses artificial intelligence to fake videos has also contributed a lot to the prevalence of fake news and misinformation in today’s internet age. With deepfake technology, it is almost impossible to differentiate between a real and a fake video.
On several occasions, many internet users have ignorantly shared a lot of deepfake videos on social media, unknown to them that they were sharing false and misleading information, creating confusion, fear and trauma for many families.
In today’s internet age, fake news and misinformation have become prevalent online and this affects all of us directly or indirectly on daily basis. The reputation of many innocent individuals and companies have been destroyed while the peace, unity and security of many countries have been threatened through the spread of fake news and misleading information shared over the internet.
How to prevent the spread of fake news and online misinformation:
- Read beyond the headlines to understand the full story.
- Do thorough investigation on the source of the news or story.
- Don’t be too emotional when you read any story or news online.
- Fact-check before you share any post, picture, video or link.
- Don’t believe every story you see online.
- Be conscious of the date and time mentioned in the story or news.
- As an internet user, educate yourself on how to prevent the spread of fake news and misinformation.
- When you are not sure of the authenticity of a news or story, discuss it with neighbors, friends and families.
- Don’t rely on only one news source. Use many media websites to confirm any news or story you see online.
- When you receive any fake news or misleading information, report immediately to different media organisations.
- The aged and young children should be given proper orientation on how to prevent the spread of fake news and misinformation because they are the most vulnerable.
- Government and non governmental organisations should educate the general public on how to prevent the spread of fake news and misinformation.
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