Easy steps to combat fake news

It is often seen that social media loves lies. A new study finds that false information on the social media network travels six times faster than the truth and reaches far more people.


But you can’t blame bots; it’s us, say the authors of the largest study of online misinformation. During the 2016 election, a specific concern has been the effect of false stories-“fake news,” as it has been dubbed-circulated on social media. Collected evidence shows that:

  1. 62 percent of US adults get news on social media (Gottfried and Shearer 2016);
  2. The most popular fake news stories were more widely shared on Facebook than the most popular mainstream news stories (Silverman 2016);
  3. Many people who see fake news stories report that they believe them (Silverman and Singer-Vine 2016), and
  4. The most discussed fake news stories tended to favour Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton (Silverman 2016).

Putting these facts together, a number of commentators have suggested that Donald Trump would not have been elected president were it not for the influence of fake news

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at more than 126,000 stories tweeted millions of times between 2006 and the end of 2016 – before Donald Trump took office but during the combative presidential campaign. They found that “fake news” sped through Twitter “farther, faster, deeper and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information,” according to the study in Thursday’s journal Science. “No matter how you slice it, falsity wins out,” said co-author Deb Roy, who runs MIT’s Laboratory for Social Machines and is a former chief media scientist at Twitter. Twitter funded the study but had no say in the outcome, according to the researchers. The scientists calculated that the average false story takes about 10 hours to reach 1,500 Twitter users, versus about 60 hours for the truth. On an average, false information reaches 35 percent more people than true news. While true news stories almost never got retweeted to 1,000 people, the top 1 percent of the false ones got to as many as 100,000 people. And when the researchers looked at how stories cascade – how they link from one person to another like a family tree – false information reached as many as 24 generations, while true information maxed out at a dozen.

Fake news is far more devastating than Yellow journalism because in seconds it has the ability to draw attention, reach instantly to numerous people and create a chain of superfluous conversations. Online media has given each one of us the ability to participate and express, hence, I feel that it is our responsibility to disdain such news to trend in an online atmosphere. In best of my knowledge, I have tried to pen down a few easy and basic elementary measures that would help online media followers to differentiate between real and fake news.

Basis tips to identify and stop the widespread of fake news

Newseum Share Worthy Infographic

To read more: Click here

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