Paradoxically, in our time, we have never had so much access to information and disinformation (fake news). The internet has multiplied the sources, with traditional websites and social networks serving as channels that are fed day and night.
This abundance of information necessitates sorting, sometimes to a significant degree. So, how can we proceed? What techniques and approaches can we adopt to detect fake news online?
While we cannot promise to identify all fake news, we hope that these few tips will help you navigate this ocean of publications more effectively.
Critical thinking: your most precious ally
It is not always easy to mobilize this tool. However, it proves valuable in the face of fake news.
Do not hesitate to ask yourself the following questions in order to optimize your critical thinking:
- What is the source of the information?
- What do I know about the subject matter?
- Does there seem to be a promotional objective behind the communication?
- Does what is presented in the text seem credible to me?
Unfortunately, this approach will not suffice. That said, it lays down some groundwork and will allow you to eliminate a few intruders.
Don’t settle for just one channel
A historian knows it well: it is difficult to trust a single source. The logic remains the same when you get information on the Internet.
In some cases, even if several mainstream media will report the same thing, Internet users may remain skeptical. But for very factual elements (like the death of a celebrity, typically), multiplying the checks is often enough to flush out the distilled “lies”.
For the record, some artists or political figures have died several times on the web. Jean-Marie Le Pen notably holds a record in this area. Michel Drucker is not left out either. It must be said that a few clicks are enough to launch the machine.
Take a good look at the images
The recent revolution in artificial intelligence makes video and photo editing even more accessible. Admittedly, the images generated by these intelligent robots are far from perfect. Emmanuel Macron, Barack Obama, and other favorite figures of users must surely have difficulty eating with so many fingers.
Be careful, however: technology is changing very quickly. Moreover, those who are determined to deceive the public will not hesitate to correct the details. Besides, no one waited for Midjourney (or equivalent) to create the illusion.
Pay close attention to every detail. The smallest inconsistency. And if that’s not enough, we can only refer you to point 1: there remains the sacrosanct critical spirit.
Visit (at your own risk) fact-checking sites
Hoaxbuster, AFP Factual, True or Fake… there is no shortage of information verification platforms. In itself, the concept is very interesting. It is about objective journalism, which intends to restore the truth, the facts in the face of misinformation.
The problem is that the very concept of fact-checking must be taken with a grain of salt. Since the appearance of these intermediaries, some controversies have erupted. We won’t name names because JustGeek doesn’t want to take sides.
To sum up, in any case, be careful of those who think they have the truth. As soon as the facts are complex, games of interest are likely to confuse the tracks. And that goes for both sides.
Patience is the mother of all virtues. This also applies when browsing articles and other breaking news on the web.
Before telling everyone what you have read, give yourself a little time to digest the information. Recently, singer Florent Pagny was reported to be “on his deathbed” according to a gossip website, but he made an appearance on the TPMP set a few days later. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s healthy now. Nevertheless, catchy headlines have their limits.
Spot the clones
Some information (if we can even call it that) comes back regularly in a slightly modified form. Suddenly, what happened in Germany will become an Austrian or Swiss news story. Faced with these contradictions, it is important to ask questions. There may be a kernel of truth, but it is often drowned out by suspicious variations.
Log out regularly
We’ve saved the most philosophical advice for last. Sometimes, instead of trying to keep up with the constant stream of news, it’s better to disconnect and take a break.
Millions of news articles are published on the internet every day. Some are genuine, while others are completely misleading. Regardless, no one is asking us to be connected 24 hours a day. The world will keep spinning if you turn off your smartphone or computer for a while. Taking a break will allow you to better manage the flow of news and breaking news.
Fake news: it’s up to you!
No method is infallible, and the popularity of ChatGPT or other language models should in no way change that. In 2023, it’s more important than ever to be extra vigilant and avoid falling for fake news.
Are we going to fall prey to lies? We at Easy Tech Tutorials are sure we won’t. On the contrary, information overload provides an opportunity to stay alert and not take every news item for granted. We hope that the easier it is to deceive technically, the less likely people will be to fall for fake news. And if the critical spirit prevails, all the better. Regardless, we encourage you to cultivate your critical thinking skills.