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  • Sanskriti Sinha

Fake News: An Annoying Menace To Society

To be a functioning and contributing member of their society, I believe one should be well-informed about the advancements and difficulties of their community. The reason behind this is that the knowledge of current events not only celebrates our achievements and dictates our lifestyles but also encourages us to improve by pointing out the issues. This information of the advantages and disadvantages of society is provided in the form of news through trusted news articles and channels. Lamentably, since news can now be easily shared by anyone regardless of their accountability, it can sometimes be false. This is called fake news.


According to "First Draft", an organization dedicated to tackling the nuisance of false information, there are seven prominent types of fake news one should be cautious of.

  1. 'Satire' or 'parody'. These are comedic articles that are meant to mock political and social issues.

  2. 'Misleading content'. This refers to those articles which twist information incorrectly as an attempt to mislead the reader.

  3. 'Imposter content', meaning people who impersonate a reputable news outlet and pretend to spread the news on their behalf.

  4. 'Fabricated content', is inexact and meant to influence the public in a certain way.

  5. 'False connection' or 'clickbait', when the headlines, images, or other snippets of an article are not mentioned in nor connected to the actual content of the article.

  6. 'False context', when articles take real events out of context to fabricate an occurrence.

  7. 'Manipulated content', where pictures or information are edited to change their meaning.


Although fake news is commonly created with nefarious intentions, sometimes it can spread due to ignorance. One might believe a rumour to be genuine and forward it to others without realizing their mistake. This fake news could confuse you, misinform you or even deliberately change your political and social opinions through evil propaganda. Hence, it is essential to know how to differentiate fake news from real news. Usually, if the news article is by an unidentified author, unreasonably emotional, written on an imposter website, favouring one specific bias, not mentioned by any other news outlet or cannot be verified, it is doubtlessly illegitimate. Furthermore, the Times of India states that ‘WhatsApp is the top source of fake news in India,’ which is why one should refrain from trusting any 'news' on such social media.


A majority of fraudulent news can be debunked by simply researching the subject on your own. An excellent method for authenticating a piece of information is to check whether the claim can be found on three other reliable sites. Besides that, to avoid getting tricked by an imposter website, one should compare the site's domain name with that of the portrayed organization. Furthermore, manipulated content can be avoided by 'reverse google image searching' the picture or further researching the topic. In addition, one could use Chrome extensions to check the reliability of an article. One amazing extension is ‘Trusted News’, which shows whether the essay is objective-unbiased- or subjective- biased. It is accessible from its website https://trusted-news.com/ and the Chrome web store. Another exceptional extension is ‘The Factual’, which instantly checks how 'factual' the article is based on various traits including site quality, author expertise, source quality, and tone. It is available on the Chrome web store.



Bibliography:

  1. First Draft. - Medium

  2. The Economic Times

  3. American Press Institute

  4. Times of India, CNET

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