by Andile Khumalo
In the past months the idea of fake news has been making headlines, it sounds like a new phenomenon but far from it, this trend is as old as the development of new media. Of major interest however is how this trend has grown since the spread of social media particularly WhatsApp and how many of us can spot it?
So today we are gonna be exploring a few facts about how to spot Fake news” online.
What is fake news ?
This is to put it bluntly false information or news stories usually written by non professional journalists and they are written by what we call trolls.
How do I spot it?
Good question… So after being involved with journalism for the past 4 years I have a couple tricks on how to spot fake news am just gonna give you a few red alerts.
Story sounds too good to be true.
If it’s a story like ‘’ Zimbabweans to get free visa travel to the USA” Weigh for yourself why America would just make such a decision if you can’t find a suitable reason u know its as fake as they come.
Pops up from nowhere
So i know we have all seen this on Facebook, you’re busy scrolling a timeline chatting with your friends you see an interesting link shared by your one of your friends and click, before you know it multiple tabs are opening , a voice is speaking,,, hold it right there because you are now walking on fake news territory. What you are reading is a fake news site.
Too big a story to miss but you’re hearing it a day late
Honestly if there is to be a story like that ‘President Mugabe died yesterday afternoon” or “Beyonce divorces Jay Z” and you’re hearing it today morning it’s probably a lie. A breaking story of such magnitude would have reached you literally minutes after it was announced. None of us is leaving under a rock here, so there is no justification we would take that long to know a breaking news.
So you read a story and can not follow what it is about first paragraph … second paragraph.. third para…wooooh stop right there because you just encountered fake news. Remember as journalists we spend four years in school learning how to write and we have reputations to maintain, so there is no way we would give you such nonsense to you. If you read a poor story chances are it was written by non professional angered by something,, so advice,, read with caution.
So from the ways i mentioned on how to spot it i guess its clear how do avoid getting misinformed by fake news. One great word of advice do not click the link of a site you have never heard of because its likely to be a troll site. On your Whats App feed just skip anything sounding too good to be true or too big but too late because it most certainly is fake. After reading this you’ve been saved numerous hours wasted every week on App reading the “fakest” of news.
See you on the next one and keep the conversation below on the where else you now realise you were being bombarded with fake news