What Fake News?

Okay, so the whole “fake news” concept is not new to any of us. Though it is spoken about almost on a daily basis somewhere, this type of fabricated news has been around since the 13th century BC. It has however been popularised by Donald J. Trump during his 2016 election campaign.

So, when I read something on Facebook about Richard Branson being kidnapped or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s death (again!) I know straight away it is a scam and hence, fake news.

On 3 September 2018, the BBC published an article about 87 elephant deaths. It went further to make a number of statements about the size and scale of these deaths as well as making a statement on why it is happening. Read it here: BBC article

It was however not long after that, that a group of scientists claimed that the “dramatic assertions” could not be justified by the data. It seems the actual number of deaths is not in question, but many of the other statements in the article. Read it here: Survival international

In fact, the government of Botswana also claimed the BBC report was inaccurate.

But BBC? No, I believe whatever they say…or should I?

How does your company know when you share something from another source online whether it is true or not and how do you ensure that when you post your own articles that people actually believe it?

You often see those almost believable posts on social media with a link to an article. This is done for one reason only; to get you to click through to a website where you are shown ads. This is referred to as clickbait.

Facebook is now eager to eliminate this type of content and actually advertised for “news credibility specialists” (Facebook fake news checkers.)

But how do you know what to believe or not?

My first suggestion: use your common sense. If you see a video about a new type of bullet with a built-in camera ( and this really happened) and your friends start commenting on it, please tell them to wake up!

The same applies for free iPhones, free Emirates flight tickets and a bunch of other nonsense.

When you next read that Arnie has died (again!) it may actually be true this time, or yet another joke.

For this and other “news” you may be unsure about, there are a number of web sites devoted to help stem the flow of all the fake news. Check out these ones:

https://www.snopes.com/

https://hoaxy.iuni.iu.edu/

https://www.factcheck.org/

And here’s a tool, Botometer (https://botometer.iuni.iu.edu/#!/) that checks the activity of a Twitter account and gives it a score based on how likely the account is to be a bot. Higher scores are more bot-like.

Are you keen to learn more about creating real, relevant and unique content (stories, videos and images) for your organisation?
Shoot me a mail and let’s talk. Japie[at]sociality.biz