HOW TO STAY AFLOAT IN THE SEA OF MISINFORMATION
It is increasingly common to hear about fake news, that is, those that look like real news (because they imitate the format of the known or official media by having title, text, photos and other resources that make them look real), but their content provides facts that are not verifiable or that are not based on journalistic research.
There are many resources that are used to produce false content. In fact, the organization First Draft News identifies several forms of disinformation that are very common. Today in this post we want to tell you about 5 of them so that you have more tools that can help you identify offers and information that can be harmful to you, your friends or family.
1. False connection:
This is probably the most common form of disinformation. It consists of writing a very attractive headline (which you will hardly be able to resist clicking on), but the content in the text has nothing to do with what the headline said or provides inaccurate information. This phenomenon is known as clickbait and is used to generate advertising revenue by attracting as many clicks as possible.
It is a practice of special care because it is increasingly common that people only get information from what they read in headlines, without even confirming that they are published by reliable sources. Next time, you should better #ThinkTwice before believing what the headline tells you!
2. Manipulated content
Programs like Photoshop didn't just come to remove the dark circles under the eyes of celebrities appearing on magazine covers. They also came to become a tool that is increasingly used to manipulate images and videos in order to distort reality for political or commercial purposes. You may remember a case in your country of a photograph that turned out to be a montage.
3. False context
Have you ever been sent a video of a supposed robbery in your community, but then you realize that the video actually happened in another country? The content is real, but it is placed in another context, resulting in false information for your context.
This is a resource that is increasingly used for very serious purposes such as political campaigning or to generate fear in the population about natural disasters that occurred in faraway places. So now you know: when you come across this type of content, verify that the images correspond to the site where the news story places them.
4. Satire and parody
It is content created to make you laugh, but unfortunately it can also be used to misinform. It happens with memes or parody accounts of institutions or public figures (such as politicians) that manage to make publications in social networks practically equal to the real people or organizations, but with satire or criticism purposes.
Sometimes, if we are not aware of the existence of these accounts, it is very easy to believe that the information they show us is real, so be careful! A tip to know if what we are seeing comes from an official account is to see if the verification check appears next to the username.
5. Imposter content
As its name says, this is content about fake offers, which we have been talking about for months in Somos Colmena. It can include job offers that seem straightforward, scholarships with few requirements, offers of travel abroad or "help" from bank staff, which can turn out to be scams.
Why is it important for you to know how we are misinformed?
There are several reasons, but we are going to mention two. First, because this kind of content is designed to play with your emotions. Journalist Claire Waldre calls us to "doubt our instinctive reactions" when we consume online content or, in other words, she invites you to think twice!
The second reason is because as users we also have the responsibility to verify the content we share and thus help in some way to reduce the scope of false information that is becoming more and more abundant.
So now that you have these resources, we invite you to go through these filters every time you see suspicious content and identify how they are creating false content to deceive you. And as we always say: think twice before believing what you see online!
*This blogpost is based on the video: Fakenews and other forms of disinformation made by Doble Check and available here.