A fake news, literally, a false news. Here is a mini guide on what to do to prevent it from spreading and to ensure a reliable environment
A fake news, literally, a false news. The investments of the different social media – and of Facebook in the first place – to avoid its diffusion and to guarantee users a healthy and reliable environment, are growing but still insufficient. Here is a mini guide to avoid fake news and get informed correctly.
* by Emanuela Zaccone
The various platforms are urged to intensify controls on the veracity of the contents, to use more resources (primarily human resources) for the screening of the news. On the other hand, the contribution of each of us as users of the fundamental platforms.
Diffusion of fake news: what does it imply?
The stakes are not only the authenticity of a social network and the way in which it is perceived, but rather linked to its influence.
Facebook's decision to increase the number of people in charge of control comes after the accusations of having influenced the American elections, manipulating the news themselves.
Facebook and fake news
Maintaining lambiguit, or better, denying being a media company, for Facebook also means having to naturally resort to measures to protect users, but at the same time being able to delegate control power to them.
Each of us can in fact report a news as false and point it to Facebook, thus helping to keep the content ecosystem that circulates inside the platform clean and that in many cases constitute the only source of information for many users, who are informed via social media.
How to recognize them: a guide against fake news
Let's imagine using only Facebook to read. Suppose that among our contacts or in the groups to which we belong, false news circulates: how could we realize that they are such? If it is true that often the doubt is raised by the news itself – which may appear suspicious because it is exaggerated, illogical or simply too blatant to be true – in other cases it will be difficult to notice the absence of truthfulness if we are surrounded by people inside our social bubble. , help spread it.
What can we do, concretely, to avoid falling into fake news?
1) Search for sources: how many posts will you have read with copy and paste, without a link that would allow deepening? the digital equivalent of I heard someone say that someone said, translated in other terms, not information but the simple circular of someone's invention. In these cases, before re-assigning status and believing in trust, spend some time searching for insights, from sources that you consider to be reliable.
2) Always check the sources: even when the suspicion of falsehood may not be obvious, we should still verify. If the name of a site is linked to a little-known post, it is worth searching online for more information, checking how other information has been handled in the past (perhaps on well-known topics we already know the truth about).
3) Learn to trust the right people: the influence that certain users have – not only journalists and politicians but also people who over time have gained a certain visibility, thanks to their credibility – exposes them to everyone's visibility, allowing users to follow them and trust them as first filters and verification tools. The theme is different if we think about the lack of ethics of some of these categories or about the click-bait race (ie the attempt to collect clicks to your site with false titles), but also in this case the user who has to learn to understand who can trust.
4) Report false news: social media provide different reporting tools. If you come across a fake news, in profiles or groups that tend to spread them, report everything, maybe share what you found with those who follow you and contribute to the dissemination of correct information.
The responsibility of the fake news is ours too
In a context in which there are fewer and fewer users inquiring outside of social networks, the dissemination of correct news – although in principle it should be guaranteed by the platforms themselves – also a specific responsibility of each of us.
* Emanuela Zaccone: Digital Entrepreneur, co-founder and Marketing & Product Manager of TOK.tv. He has over 10 years of experience as a consultant and lecturer in social media analysis and strategy for large companies, startups and universities. author of Digital Entrepreneur: principles, practices and skills for her own startup (Franco Angeli, 2016) and Social Media Monitoring: from conversations to strategy (Flaccovio, 2015).