Yesterday I was scrolling through my Facebook feed (which means I was REALLY board because I hate Facebook) and I came across a ‘live’ video.
The video was of a supermarket being looted by loads of people, pushing and showing, carrying things and the place was trashed. It was captioned something like ‘this is what’s happening now’.
It had been live for almost 6 hours. People were tagging people and sharing it. If you scrolled through the comments you could see the odd one saying ‘this is fake’, ‘this is from the 2017 riots in Mexico’ and ‘this video is just on loop’. Thing is, most people don’t check, they just share and tag people and think that this is happening and it adds to the already panicked feeling that most of us already have thanks to Coronavirus threating those that we love as well as our jobs, economy and freedom.
I’ve seen fake news stories about young people dying to try and scare people. Old photos of the army on the M62 being made out as if they’re real. Even fake stories such as the drunken elephants in that field. Not all of them are trying to scare us I guess, like the swans in Venice (it’s actually pretty normal for swans to be on the canals. The dolphin thing was fake though).
Then you have the trash newspapers like The Sun and Daily Mail that put the most dramatic headlines on.
It’s all based on speculation. The headline on The Sun’s website today:
‘Coronavirus could have infected half the population and has been spreading since Jan!’
and ‘Ready to die’ with a photo of a man in hospital with the virus.
It’s all just speculation. Not based on facts at all.
Fake news isn’t a new thing, but now is the time to educate yourself on trusted news sources vs fake news.
I am only getting and believing information from four places:
- The daily updates from Downing Street
- BBC News
- Sky News
Here’s how to spot fake news:
- Check the source of the information shared on social media – if it’s not from a well known/trusted website or company, it could be a fake news website
- Check for errors in spelling and punctuation
- Clickbait style websites with lots of pop-ups and bold headlines – probably fake news
- Check the author – are they a well-known reporter with credentials? Give ’em a Google
- Read beyond the headlines – a lot of headlines will be created to get you to instantly share without even reading the content. Only later to find that the title is hugely exaggerated
- Check the story against credible news sources – I find Sky News the best for ‘breaking’ news – so if anything big comes up, I always check to see if it’s on Sky News also.
- Be careful of imitation websites – some websites and social media accounts are created to look like credible websites but are fake or made to be a ‘joke’. Check the web address and social media handles are spelt correctly!
Or just use my method and only believe and consume content from the sources above.
It’s really important to keep informed about what is going on. If you are finding yourself stressed and needing a break from it all, just check in daily around 4:30 – 5 pm on the BBC to get the latest information from the government. It’s important we all know what we can and can’t do and what part we can play in helping to stop this spread to the point our NHS collapses.
Please stay safe and don’t let the scaremongering get into your head.