Did you know that you might be a spreader of fake news?
What are fake news?
Fake news are false stories that are fabricated with the general intent to spread misinformation in societies. It could be developed to incite hatred, or influence politics to jeopardise a country’s social stability. It can also spread unnecessary worry or panic, especially when it comes to topics on health and personal safety.
Here are 2 fake news that caused lots of commotion.
Punggol Waterway Terraces roof collapse
You may have seen photos circulating online, or even shared them yourself! The police and the SCDF were activated and the area cordoned. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a false alarm. What a waste of resources!
2. FairPrice false rice rumour
Reports online claimed that NTUC’s jasmine fragrant rice is made of plastic. Concerned customers even showed up at NTUC, demanding refunds for their purchases. These rumours turned out to be fake as well.
Why is fake news so common these days? Well, it is really easy to remain anonymous online. And people like to share without fact-checking first. If you share first, you look like you’re super in-the-know, right? There is also a lack of laws to deal with fake news in most countries. In fact, artificial intelligence can create fake news that really appear convincing. We show you an example:
Yikes… Are you convinced?
How can we spot fake news?
The first thing to do is to check out the information’s source. Is it a ‘clickbait’ headline like “5 things you HAVE to know about xxxxx”? Is it a strange website like viralnova.com? If it’s an email, is the formatting bad? Is it a recognized author or agency? Is there biased writing?
Another way is to check out snopes.com. Snopes.com debunks all the fake news for you. Unfortunately, there isn’t Singapore news in there.
So what you’ve got to do is to ensure that it’s a “.gov.sg” or “.edu.sg” website. Or better yet, get your information off Straits Times’ website or any local media agency’s website. If you do come across something strange in your social media network, do verify if the incident did happen with these verified websites.
Use the S.U.R.E. steps to analyse articles
The National Library Board (NLB) has come up with a S.U.R.E way for you to debunk myths:
Look for its origin. Is it trustworthy? Make sure that the source of information is credible and reliable.
Know what you’re reading. Search for clarity. Look for facts rather than opinions.
Dig deeper. Go beyond the initial source. Investigate thoroughly before making a conclusion. Check and compare with multiple reliable sources.
Find the balance. Exercise fair judgment. Look from different angles – are there at least two sides to the story?
What can we do to fight the spread?
Do not simply ignore fake news posts!
Private message your friends and relatives to inform them if they are sharing fake news. Share the relevant and authentic links with them, and block spreaders and pages of fake news. Report fake news to relevant parties or authorities if it threatens individuals or society.
For more resources relating to information literacy, please check out NLB’s S.U.R.E website!