During the 2016 north American elections, Facebook and Google were accused of favoring the republican candidate Donald Trump by releasing fake news about his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The discussion generated debates over the last weeks about how the social media giants can fight the spreading of fake content. Despite the measures announced, it’s a fact that the fight will be hard: the same companied that dedicate resources to end fake news benefit by the clicks on this type of content.
The phenomenon also happened in Brazil, but without much debate. On the last Brazilian elections and in our daily political crisis, fake news has become a tradition on platforms such as Facebook. “News” profiles, but without any commitment to journalism, have spread around the social media, sharing news to an audience that, without the habit of reading newspapers and magazines, can’t tell journalism from propaganda apart, as shown by a study from Stanford which says that 80% of young people can’t tell the difference between advertising and news.
How to fight fake News?
Besides making better readers, and more critical people and citizen, with the habit of reading news from serious vehicles, we need to fight fake news using the internet itself as a fact checking space. On the guide below we suggest a few tips for companies and regular people:
1. Monitor Facebook pages
Fake News can be disseminated as much by traditional vehicles as independent news channels. However, these independent channels have spread and generated a new challenge: how to keep up to the news on real time? Now, Buzzmonitor, allows us to monitor news sites on Facebook from Spain and Latinamerica and analyze in real-time, the posts made by the media and its audience, which allows us to detect fake news quickly.
2. Google it
Before sharing or promoting any news, Google it. Search for related terms to those news not only on the main results, but also on Google News. If the news are real, you will find other vehicles sharing it – check the links and verify if they’re from trustable sources.
3. Check Wikipedia
It is never too much to check Wikipedia to see if any of the facts shared on the news is, in fact, real. Usually the articles are edited very quickly, like Carrie Fisher’s article. The famous Star Wars actress's article had already been edited less than 24h after her death.
4. Search on Twitter
For real time facts, maybe the best option is to check Twitter. There is no news in the world that are not on Twitter on real time. The network has been consolidated as the favorite among journalists and in cases where the news is fake, it’s usually very easy to check the data by using the social media’s search tool. The Twitter Trending Topics, which are the subjects that have grown faster in a determined amount of time, can also tell you if a piece of news is fake, but even so it’s important to check its accuracy.
5. Be more responsible about what you share
Being more responsible before clicking “share” can not only save someone from humiliation on fake news, but also save your reputation. If you’re in doubt and don’t have time to check the facts, the best thing to do is not to share the news.