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Campaigning for facts

Quick Fact-checking Tricks

Fact checking

While disinformation is rife and social media is amplifying stories and doubts about common facts whether in terms of the Corona pandemic, the Ukrainian war, climate change, etc. Here are some simple tools and tricks you can use to fact-check any information you may suspect before sharing or taking it for granted:

Tracking: You will always need to start by tracking the original source of any news information you read on the internet. Let’s say you saw a post shared on Facebook, determine the original author and consider their track record. If you’re happy with the source and there’s no evidence the footage or story has been debunked, then you can search the story on google for similar coverage and a second source sharing the same information.

Botometer is a tool to spot bots on Twitter. You can run the account sharing any information you doubt through this tool that will tell you the likelihood that it’s a bot. Higher scores mean more bot-like activity.

MediaSmarts has developed a custom fact-checker search engine that you can use to Google something you saw. All the results will be from verified fact-checkers.

If you see a video on TikTok with air raid sirens in the background, make sure it’s original audio, not someone imposing the real sound over fake footage.

SO YOU FOUND FAKE NEWS — NOW WHAT?

If you’ve investigated the source of the footage or article you had planned to share and find out it’s fake, the next steps you take are important — because you don’t want to amplify the fake claims.

“The best thing to do is not to interact with it at all. So don’t comment, don’t re-post it”

The algorithms on social media don’t know whether you agree or disagree with the content. They just know that the content is getting interactions, so they’re going to perpetuate that. So the best thing to do is leave it alone.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t call attention to the falsehood that’s spreading. The first thing you should do is to report the post to social media companies when possible.

If you decide you want to let the world know about the false information, the best way to do it is through screenshots and a fresh post.

Screenshot it and then share it, rather than amplifying the account and the false information itself, which can then travel further.

If you already shared the post itself, though, that’s not the end of the world either. Just delete the post, then post a screenshot showing your error with some kind of stamp on it so it can’t be misused. Then explain why you deleted it.

Taking these precautions online is more important than ever. In times of war, misinformation can directly impact many lives.


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