Fake News: A virus that does not stop growing

Fake News: A virus that does not stop growing

“If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes accepted as truth.” 

This is the premise of “fake news.” It is so effective that it has become a powerful weapon for discrediting people, institutions, and planting ideals that would otherwise not bear fruit. It is characterized by presenting striking images, eye-catching headlines and brief texts, managing to communicate their idea almost instantly, without requiring in-depth analysis or any greater effort on the part of the reader. Our society is experiencing easy access to information but it is this facility that brings us to search for and share unofficial news, exclusives where we do not bother to investigate its source of origin, and with a simple click, we help  to spread its false claims. 

In order to not fall into this trap, specialists have some advice: 

– Take some time before sharing: Read well and let any initial emotive reactions pass. Think twice before sharing. 

– Did this news invoke a strong emotion? Be skeptical. These news stories are designed to trigger a response and get people to let their guard down and share the stories immediately. 

– Does it confirm something you already suspected? This is another common technique, appealing to the malice of the reader, leading the reader to think, “I was right to think this.” Develop the habit of mistrusting and investigating. 

– The news invites you to believe it. First review the sources it cites. News should  indicate its sources. 

– Be suspicious of the use of superlatives. While it is a tool on the decline, it is still common to come across fake news with expressions like “incredible,” “you didn’t imagine this,” or “everything you didn’t know about…” 

– The news has very little text, accompanying an implausible photo. These news stories are fruitful among people who read little and are drawn more by graphics. If there is not a lot to read and there is a compromising photo, the chance is greater that this is fake news. 

-Many spelling or grammar mistakes. Don’t think twice about it. Eliminate it without more analysis. 

– Verify the original source of the news story. The news story should be backed by a journalist or well-known media outlet. If one is mentioned, confirm on the website of the outlet cited. 

– Compare and contrast the news story. Looking for the news headline on Google, it should appear within the first search results, disseminated by a media outlet known for its seriousness and objectivity. 

– Maintain a critical attitude towards the news you read. Remember that not everything that is contrary to your way of thinking must be false, and not everything you agree with is true. Apply common sense. 

Several websites exist that are able to detect fake news, like Maldito bulo, Fake news detector and  Vost España.

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