How do you spot fake news on WhatsApp?
In these times of Covid-19 where every person has some information about the virus, you need to be super weary about who you believe and where you source your news from. WhatsApp is one of the most misused social platforms because everyone tends to forward every bit of information they get. You need to be able to spot fake news and ask yourself relevant questions before spreading any information you get from your networks.
These are some relevant steps you should take to help reduce the spread of false information on WhatsApp.
1. Who wrote it?
Many fake messages (especially forwarded ones) don’t say who wrote the message. If we don’t know who wrote it, how can we trust it?
If you aren’t sure who wrote the message or where its claims come from – be careful.
Before you share: Ask the sender who the author and source is, and double-check the facts.
2. Can I verify the claims?
Many fake messages don’t give sources for their claims, or use unreliable sources like hoax news sites. Some fakes say they come from a trusted source, such as a real news site – but they’re lying.
If you aren’t sure a claim is backed up by a trusted source – be careful.
Before you share: Ask the sender if the same claim has been reported on any trusted news sites or other sources, and make sure these aren’t hoax sites. Even then, double-check the facts.
3. Does the info make me scared or angry?
Many fake messages try to make us scared or angry about something. They can be shocking claims about crime or kidnapping, about people from a different country or racial group, or about new government policies.
If a message makes scary or shocking claims – be careful.
Before you share: Ask yourself if the message is playing on people’s fears or prejudices, and double-check the facts.
4. Does it include shocking pictures, video or audio?
Many fake messages use pictures, video or audio to trick us. These could be edited to be misleading. They could also be taken from a different event in another time or place.
If a message includes shocking pictures, video or audio – be careful.
Before you share: Check if the media has been edited, and double-check to see if it’s actually from a previous event or different place.
5. Am I sure this is not a hoax?
Many fake messages can be checked out online. You can search reliable news sites or fact-checking websites such as Citizen.com, BBC, KTN news etc. Always verify your information before sending anything out because you don’t want to be the reason why someone believes that drinking garlic water will cure Corona.
So please, tell your aunties and uncles to stop sharing everything they get from their friends. Always correct their information without arguing and send them links to sites where they can get relevant and credible information.