Stories or News can help shape our views, opinions and attitudes to events, so it is important that you can trust what you read and be able to make your judgments about events and stories covered both in the media space or hear as we go around our daily activities.
People sometimes create false stories or accounts of an event or about a person which is often referred to as fake news or rumors. The person who is being lied about may feel alone, helpless and targeted and worried that people will believe the fake news is true.
Fake news or Hate speech is often used to create hatred or stir up hateful responses from people that see it and is hoped that they will believe the story as true and tell other people about it.
It even becomes more harmful as we tend to also pass down such information to those close to us or anyone we come across and they also will, in turn, do the same, and such continue to travel until it causes an unwanted stir, fear, conflict or violence.
Due to the sensitivity of the kind of information passed to us daily, it has become of utmost importance that we take out time to know how to identify fake news, rumors, and hate speech online and offline.
Some tips to identifying fake news, rumors and hate speech include the following:
- Beware of stories that don’t make sense – One of the key signs of fake news is that the stories are highly improbable.
- Check the name of the news site that published it – The names of sites publishing news stories are often a hint that stories may be fake. “Be a little more careful of websites that you haven’t heard of before,
- Beware faked website addresses – Some sites may try to impersonate real news outlets with URLs that seem similar but have slight differences. For instance, one fake news site impersonated ABC news, but with a URL that read ABC.com.co, rather thango.com.
- Look out for headlines that don’t match the story – “Make sure the headline and the story match up, False news sites often have headlines in all-capitals that capture the attention with highly emotional claims – which don’t match the copy that follows if you actually click to the news site.
- Check the date – “Look out for suspicious dates,”
False news stories often include timelines that make no sense or contain the wrong dates for established events. For instance, images purporting to be of a 2016 terror attack in Brussels were actually from a 2011 attack on Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport.
- Look for unusual spellings and mistakes – Often, the sign that news is fake is that it is of low quality, with spelling errors and an over-use of capital. Real news sources will employ editors to remove these errors and ensure accuracy. Full Fact says: “Many false news sites have misspellings or awkward layouts.”
- Be wary of headlines that are trying to provoke anger = Headlines that seek to provoke anger are a sign of fake news, “It doesn’t matter what side you’re on, the purpose of fake news is often to drive two groups apart and fuel prejudice and intergroup conflict.”
- Look out for hoaxes and fake celebrity accounts
- Google-search the images – Fake news sites will often use criminal mugshots from unrelated stories, for instance, or doctored images. Google-search the images to check for their veracity against other legitimate news sites and to see where they came from. Many viral hoax stories will use deliberately disturbing or graphic imagery in an attempt to hook in readers,
- If you’re unsure, double-check with a source you trust – Fake news stories will often appear on just one site, so if you’re unsure, double-check via a news source you know and trust.
- Always check for the source of any information received online or offline.
- Speak with community leaders about any questions regarding sensitive information you might have heard.
- Beware of statements that generalize all members of a group as behaving negatively. It can’t be true. Even within families, people behave differently.
- If you’re tech-savvy, use different online tools like Google, Bing Tin Eye, and InVid to help determine the authenticity of a picture or a video.
How To Identify Fake News, Rumors And Hate Speech Online/Offline is a campaign by the Community initiatives to promote peace (CIPP). The project is a response to the increasing threat of violence in high-risk states in the North-west (Kaduna, Kano, and Katsina States) and North-central (Kogi, Benue, and Plateau States) parts of Nigeria.
This ongoing CIPP campaign was developed to increase the ability of community members in CIPP project States to understand the dangers of fake news, hate speech and rumours by enlightening them on how to verify information received on social media.