Fake news is a real issue. We have seen it time and time again, and the scary thing seems to be…if the same story keeps getting told, it becomes ‘real.’ Real at least in the minds of those who have read it, and it becomes ‘fact.’ Call me silly, but I think fact-facts, whether I agree or disagree, I think facts and context matter. Truthiness is a real problem. (Thank you Stephen Colbert for that word.) 

There is SO MUCH information at our fingertips. We need to be critical thinkers and not just read enticing headlines and decide the whole story.

So how can you stop the spread of fake news and be a more critical information consumer? It can be challenging with so many amazing things that go on in the world; what you might expect to ‘fake news’ is real, and what you think is real is fake. You need to use your noodle.

Here is some information from the Huffington Post that helped to get me started.

  • Click on the story and read it. Many times is becomes VERY clear the information is not all that. It may be an all-out fake, or it may be a headline that lured you into sharing it without knowing all the facts.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the post, and many times there is an ‘about’ page where they will flat out tell you that is a satire site or for entertainment.
  • Do a ‘gut check.’ Does it seem plausible? Do a double-check. What is the date, location, details…use that info to do your own Google search to see if you can find the story on some other site with some other sources?
  • If you do share some fake news (or one of my pet peeves an old scary weather forecast with people thinking there is something to be concerned about when there is not), you can DELETE IT. We have ALL shared something was fake or out of date. Guess what? You can correct it. I realize my mistake and remove it.

All that being said, I would also encourage you to do a little more research and read a few different stories about the subject. Other points of view will give you a more well-rounded idea of the issue and decide how you really feel about something.

 


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