If there’s anything you can bet your 1 Naira on, it’s that false news spreads faster than fact.
False news no matter the form it takes — sensational celebrity gossip, misinformation on actual events, conspiracy theories, or even outright disinformation — can lead to real life issues. According to Statistica, social media is the least trusted news source worldwide. Hence, the more reason to minimise false news and create a safer space online.
How can you do that? By applying these 5 tips as religiously as brushing your teeth.
1. Don’t engage at all
Especially when you know the news is false. Don’t give in to the urge to debunk or point out that it’s false news. This is because engagement prompts sharing, and sharing increases visibility, thereby further spreading the falsehood. This is a vicious cycle that can be avoided by not engaging in the first place. Just look and pass, shikena!
2. Be calming down
We all have beliefs and ideas about certain issues, and it is easy to get caught in the web of false news if the news seems to support our existing beliefs. So before you rush to respond to a piece of news online with all your Nollywood stickers and angry emojis, pause. Check your biases and think things through from an objective stance, not reactive. By reacting, you might unknowingly be propagating false news.
3. Consider the agenda
Yes, this news might be juicy, scandalous or appear true, but what is the intent and goal of the sharer?Is it spite, to garner clicks, get you triggered? make money off your ignorance or get you mixed up with something shady? It’s always worth taking a second look at posts before you take a position.
4. Don’t lose guard
There are times when you come across certain news from a “trusted” source. The truth is, trusted sources too can make mistakes and post misleading information. It’s your duty to be on guard to avoid being a party to the spread of such news. One sure way would be to cross-check with other trusted sources. Chances are if the news is true, other trusted sources would most likely have the news.
5. Report it to Facebook
If you see any suspicious news on Facebook, you can help minimise its spread by clicking the upper right-hand corner of a post. Facebook is committed to cleaning up such misinformation off your feed. Remember to flag such posts when you come across them.
False news could mar reputations and lead to confusion and erosion of trust. To that end, a joint effort has to be made for the above tips to prove effective. Join Zikoko and Facebook on the quest to create a #NoFalseNewsZone. Share this and let someone learn too.