As the way we consume information around us has transformed overtime in the form of online news stories, social media, messaging apps, etc the circulation of fake and morphed news has gained momentum along with them. The vast amount of information available online these days and with the growth in fake news industry the need for critical thinking is the need of the hour.

Thousands of people circulate highlights and false stories unknowingly because these eye popping headlines grab attention of the innocent users easily and seem accurate. The media today is largely consumed by the masses through social media sites and networks and it can get tricky for the general public with little or no knowledge of internet working to differentiate between real or hoax stories.

Credible journalism is lead by fact-gathering and authentic story coverage. Traditionally, we got our news from trusted sources, journalists and media outlets that are required to follow strict codes of practice. However, the internet has enabled a whole new way to publish, share and consume information and news with very little regulation or editorial standards.

As concerns over the deadly coronavirus has grown, the circulation of fake news and scams capitalising on people’s fears has also spiked. Despite earnest efforts curtailing these issues are far from being eradicated. In one of the instances an e-mail with the logo of the World Health Organisation had been making the rounds, inviting Internet users to visit a dubious website for information on safety measures. A pop-up screen then asks for the user’s e-mail address and password which can further access your personal details or financial details. 

Amidst these challenging and tough time we as a society need to congregate and cut down the circulation of hoax and fake news as our duty. Few things which we can do to identify these malicious practices are:

  • Do not circulate screenshots or unverified news. When in doubt take time to evaluate the information before sharing or buying into it.
  • On receiving a seemingly dubious post your first response should be to go to the actual website of reputable news outlets to verify the authenticity of the news in question.
  • Users are advised to look closely at the links of posts. Many false news sites mimic the authentic news sources by making unidentifiable and small changes to their links.
  • False stories also often have catchy headlines in all caps and exclamation points. Do not fall for them and first read the NEWS and what it is implying before further sharing.
  • Whenever you see an eye grabbing headline you should check if the same news has also been published by other reputable news outlets. If the story is reported by multiple reputable sources, it is more likely to be true.
  • Always consume information from reliable and authentic sources.

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