Fake news is one of the biggest problems brought to us by social media. And while Facebook, Twitter and Instagram do contribute a lot to the problem. One of the biggest contributors to the circulation of fake news seems to be WhatsApp in so many ways and so many forms of misinformation being spread out there. I myself find it difficult to distinguish between what’s fake and what’s real. but there are some methods you can use.
So how do you actually spot fake news??
From deep fakes to photoshops to incorrect headlines there are multiple ways to spread fake news. There are all over the place. And unlike people who use Instagram, twitter and Facebook, WhatsApp is completely mainstream across demographics everyone uses it. more often than not people share things indiscriminately without checking where it came from whether it’s accurate or why was it made.
For the most part people do it is because of inherent bias and because they genuinely believe the information is true it’s pretty simple someone sees something they think it’s true they send it to other their contract list on WhatsApp and then information loop spread like Wildfire even if someone were to break this chain and they try to verify the information before spreading it further the chances are by then they have already received it from multiple people from the contact list and that actually made it seems more believable and we have all seen this. Everyone has their family WhatsApp groups where your uncles and aunties and grandparents and other relatives are sending a bunch of misinformation and you try to stop them and say “Hey please check this this is not real.” only for all those people to ignore you and can continue sending this information the next day and honestly when you get it on your phone a lot or just seems really believable see the spread of fake news is so bad that the WhatsApp themselves have been trying to figure out features and ways to try and limit that spread like for instance limiting the number of times something can be forwarded.
So how do you swift through the fake and the real?
The first thing you do when you come across something that is suspect is to Analyse who created it? Why was it created? and is it the only piece of information about it out there? For me personally this is the most obvious and most important step of the process. If a news report comes out, you can do a quick Google search or search for it on Twitter and see if there are any other reports with the same information. Chances are if one source has the story others will too. Next, it’s important to understand when a message has been forwarded. According to WhatsApp when a message has been forwarded from one user to another more than five times, it indicated with a “Double Arrow icon”. So, you will be able to at least understand if a message you receive is a mass forward. If you receive a video or an image a simple reverse Google search will help you understand where the video image was created and when it was created. All you have to do is copy the image or the video file to Google and you will get a ton of result telling you where the image was used when it was created where it actually came from. Today it’s very easy for pictures and videos to be re-edited to seem like it came from today when it actually came from years ago or from different location altogether. and you will be surprised by how many people get fooled by it. Especially if it’s shared on social media and goes viral.
How To Check Fake Messages?
Use fact-checking things tanks and organizations to make sure that the information you are sharing is credible and verified. There are several organizations are there all of which are on all forms of social media, who are constantly checking, verifying, vetting, getting accurate sources for all the news and all the information shared. Look for those messages that have spelling errors, spoof email IDs or just obvious signs of them being fake. you will have to train your eyes to do this. Though once you start doing it more and more, I promise you will get better and better at it. when you see something that’s obvious on family WhatsApp groups or School groups or anything call it out. This is the most annoying one. You constantly have to point out that information being circulated time and time. Again, is fake and most of the time your family members are not getting to listen to you. But consistency is the key. keep at it because if you don’t, chances are that their whole address book is being forwarded this information. And honestly, they might not think twice before sharing it. And finally, you make the choice to read, verify and then share. The internet has vast possibilities, and the power of social media is huge.
Fact-checking tiplines on WhatsApp in India
Here is the some fact-checking tiplines on WhatsApp, you have to just save the number and send a message “hi” they might take some time to verify the information you feed just because of chatbot. And some tiplines may provide you the list of currently checked viral facts.
AFP: +91 95999 73984
Boom: +91 77009-06111 / +91 77009-06588
Fact Crescendo: +91 90490 53770
Factly: +91 92470 52470
India Today: +91 7370-007000
Newschecker: +91 99994 99044
Newsmobile: +91 11 7127 9799
Quint WebQoof: +91 96436 51818
The Healthy Indian Project: +91 85078 85079
Vishvas News: +91 92052 70923 / +91 95992 99372