Fake News and Coronavirus

Rachael Luckham

Fake News! It was the phrase of last year! Content being spread across the internet that has provided inaccurate accounts on world events as well as click bait stories that have likely spread panic and gossip around the world.  

The CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey reported that in 2019, 86% of international users have fallen for Fake News with 35% of those surveyed indicating that they believed that most of the Fake News came from the United States of America.  

The Covid-19 Pandemic presents us with uncertain times and social media can, has, and will play a part in the information being distributed to our communities.  

So, it’s more important than ever to ensure that the news and social content you’re sharing, and reading is factual and not fake.  

 

What is Fake News?  

Fake News or False Information is content that has been put out to misinform the reader. Content could be anything that might sway the view of the readers political views or just confuse the reader on the topic being covered.  

According to researchers at MIT, Fake News can spread around 10 times faster and has a much higher reach than genuine news stories.  

There are several ways that Fake News is communicated to the public, propaganda messaging, biased news stories, click bait or misleading headlines are just a few ways that readers have been ‘engaged’ and have then shared the content to their followers.  

 

Spotting Fake News  

So how do you know what news on your feed is real, and what news is fake?

Firstly, its recommended that any news you get should be from trusted sources, if you want to share news with your followers, friends or local community (through community Facebook groups) you can do that directly from the website of your chosen news outlet.  

If you are sharing news from a social media source, always check for a blue verification tick (found next to their account name) on the account as well as ensuring you’ve read the full article before you do so

 

Example ..

 

If an article is shared to your feed from a friend, you can check if its genuine by asking yourself the following questions:  

  • Is the shared information from a source that you trust? 
  • Does the web address match up with the source providing the news?  
  • When was this article dated?  
  • Does the article come from a verified account (with a blue tick) 
  • If the article is making any claims, are these referenced and linked to credible sources? 
  • Has this piece of news been covered in any other news outlets? 
  • Is it a joke? Check the content provider, are they known for providing comical content?  

If your checks show you that the article or content is Fake News, please be responsible and report it to the platform. It would also be worthwhile leaving a friendly comment to the person who shared it, letting them know that 

If you can contribute to the reduction of panic within your community, social media is a good place to start.

Reporting Fake News  

Every social media platform has the ability for users to report content, whether it is content that is spamming your feed, something you don’t like / aren’t interested in, or for reporting Fake News.  

Knowing how to report Fake News about the Covid-19 pandemic, and other topics, is highly important in preventing unnecessary panic and the spread of incorrect guidance and updates.  

To report a Fake News article simply click on the 3 dots found on the top right-hand side of a Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest post, and the down arrow on the right-hand side of a Twitter post.  

Each platform will allow you to categorise the reason for your report, examples on how to report posts are below.  

        Example of how to report on Facebook.

How you can help prevent the continual sharing of Fake News.  

We’re sure that most people want their news feeds or timelines to be filled with content they find interesting or engaging and to prioritise updates from their friends, families or local communities.  

If you can contribute to the reduction of panic within your community, social media is a good place to start. 

It’s important, especially given the uncertainty now, that legitimate messaging from the Government or NHS isn’t overshadowed by Fake News.  

Take 2 extra seconds to report articles that you believe to be Fake or provide helpful information to friends who may have shared, unknowingly, Fake News to their community 

FullFact.org is the Independent fact checking charity for the UK and is a great source for anyone wanting to double check any information they’re finding online.

If you’re not sure whether an article you’re reading is correct or real, you can use FullFact.org to check for you. 

With information on Coronavirus being in high demand, searching the subject will provide factchecked articles on that chose subject.  

 

Where can you find up to date, accurate news and information on the Covid-19 Pandemic? 

In order to make the best decisions for your business and families, it has never been more important to ensure that information you’re getting is correct and comes directly from a trusted source.   

You can get accurate information and updated news about the Covid-19 Pandemic from trusted sources. We recommend following these accounts:  

NHS: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram  
Gov.UK:  Facebook, Twitter 
FullFact.org: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
World Health Organisation: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram 
Department of Health and Social Care: Facebook, Twitter
BBC: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. We’re passionate about a safer and more enjoyable internet, so please help us to make a difference. 

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