We live in an era in which technology continues to innovate, promising an “easier” life and in which most consumers’ dependency for current news correlates with the number of social media accounts they have. This raises the question of how one can rely on the news media for accurate information about what is occurring in the world.
Recently, fake news has steadily increased in belief and influence. Both citizens and well-respected news outlets have stumbled across the fake news infection that is spreading everywhere. Its effectiveness was displayed just last year in the 2016 presidential election. The rather strange nature of this election provoked supporters of both parties to easily believe anything someone posted online. Fake news was used to manipulate and falsely lead people away from the truth. Our society is increasingly less able to discern between fake news and legitimate news. Two key contributors to this issue are the practice of “post-truth” and a lack of sound judgment. Post-truth is a disregard of the importance of objective truth, which results in one not caring about factual accuracy. It’s when one person starts “cherry picking” data (what they like and dislike). The problem we need to confront is the temptation to read bits and pieces of things that we like and ignore the context as a whole. A lack of judgment can also cause great damage to a society or nation if we are not cautious. There’s an old saying that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear. As citizens it’s our duty to raise questions before accepting what someone tells us is the truth.
Here are a few tips to prevent fake news wildfires:
-Search the Sources: Conducting research can help determine a topic’s accuracy.
-Define Difficult Vocabulary: Take the time to search for definitions because though it may seem tedious, it helps a lot.
-Use Multiple News Outlets: Verify that the story is important and true by making sure other outlets are witnesses to the same reported events.
If we all put these simple tips into practice, fewer people may identify our generation as “careless” and “ignorant.” Whether we chose to accept it, societies thrive on news availability, and all the more on its accuracy. Choose to identify and challenge the context of a news story before you share it.