When using the social media platforms or the internet in general as a source of providing news you must be really careful as its not monitored by anyone, and the fact that it spreads quickly and everyone is talking about it does not mean that it is true. So, when it comes to getting news from the internet you should always double check the reliability of the source and we shouldn’t always believe what’s told to us or even what we see as there is a high probability that it’s going to be fake news. We learnt more through the article from the Mozilla Health report article and the presentation done in class by some colleagues.
The first thing that we saw about fake news was that video for Donald trump in the White house that contained a picture of Muslims and the “Kaaba” where he said that it is like the sea of love where you would assume that he’s praising Muslims while in fact he was just praising himself which we discovered after viewing the original video that showed us that that he was talking about people came from all over America to vote for him and how much love they have for him and that what he described as “Sea of love ”. When seeing the video, I didn’t think twice and that was because of the credibility of my professor, I thought that she would never show us something fake and it was also a video with trump’s voice so how could it be?
We were then assigned to play a game called “Fake it to make it” which let you discover the effect of fake news more closely. First I knew how easy it is to create a fake account or even a website, share fake news with people and get money out of it. You were asked to spread fake news through a blog that you created, you have to make it sound and look credible and only use it for spreading fake news that will make you gain money and credibility from people. Which leads to the conclusion that people tend to believe things that the see or watch without questioning its credibility which makes it easier for people to spread fake news and that is something that they can benefit from in so many ways.
Moreover, the most recent and viral fake news in Egypt belonged to a girl named Sarah abu elkheir who’s also known among people as “The Nasa Girl”. The story started when she posted a video saying that why not create a giant BBQ under each rocket that’s launched by NASA, you can imagine how silly this may sound however, she photoshoped NASA’s official account replying to what she said saying how awesome her idea is and how exciting it is to try her idea in their next launch. Then she continued what spreading fake news through her Instagram account, including more famous companies and celebrities like Buzzfeed, Spacex, Netflix and Ellen which made her more famous everyday by doing that. She increased her number of followers, got offers from a lot of other companies offering her gifts and even money! Also, a lot of reputable TV channels newspapers and magazines took the news and they spread it out and she was on every social media platform and none of those people referred back to her to ask her if that was true or not. She ended it after almost a week saying that it was part of a social experiment which was a shock for everyone even for some people who know her including myself.The only company who contacted her directly was called Binge circle, and that was when the truth finally revealed through the video that Sara explained the whole story.
A famous online magazine in Egypt called Scoop Empire’s article https://scoopempire.com/this-arab-girl-received-offers-from-nasa-spacex-netflix-buzzfeed-and-we-couldnt-help-but-step-in/
The following class the Dr gave us some pieces of information to look up and see if they’re real or fake and it was not easy to be honest. A couple of them was “Is the Sun going to sleep in 2020? Will there be a mini ice age?” That topic specifically is one that people would spread fake news about maybe because it concerns people a lot or because of how fast it spreads. The results were shocking as we found websites that made us feel more skeptical about that news, and it was very hard to prove whether they are fake or not. Also, there was that website that had statistics and facts that looked scientific so that we couldn’t prove that it was not true. Here’s the link where they said that the world would end in 2020 because of a mini ice age https://tfrlive.com/is-there-going-to-be-a-mini-ice-age-the-sun-going-to-sleep-has-scientists-suggesting-so/ . The website has everything to offer from resources, scientists names and name of scientific institutes. After a couple of minutes searching online, a couple of people found out that it was fake as none of the links that were attached to the website worked.
Another one was “Is Paracetamol Contaminated with the Deadly Machupo Virus?” Here: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/paracetamol-warning/. Where we found it really easy to know that it was fake, the first source that I opened showed that it was a claim. Also, the Dr showed us an easy way to spot fake news which was through typing “hoax” next to what we want to know. Furthermore, there’s a website that checks for the credibility of sources called Snopes that might help you in recognizing websites easily and efficiently.
Moreover, we discussed an article called “5 Statistics about infographics” which fooled most of us as it had a picture that included statistics and percentages that looked realistic and grabbed our attention then at the end it claimed that all of that was fake and that took us to the four moves by Michael Caulfield: which are the four steps that you should do to check the credibility of a source which are:
- Check for previous work: Look around to see if someone else has already fact-checked the claim or provided a synthesis of research.
- Go upstream to the source: Go “upstream” to the source of the claim. Most web content is not original. Get to the original source to understand the trustworthiness of the information.
- Read laterally: Read laterally. Once you get to the source of a claim, read what other people say about the source (publication, author, etc.). The truth is in the network.
- Circle back: If you get lost, hit dead ends, or find yourself going down an increasingly confusing rabbit hole, back up and start over knowing what you know now. You’re likely to take a more informed path with different search terms and better decisions.
Then we tried applying them to some other pieces of news so they made it easier for us to spot fake news.
To sum up, fake news is a very critical topic that people need to be more educated about as it can affect many aspects in their lives, it could provide them with wrong information and concepts. Therefore, educating people about the importance of checking the credibility of their sources would result affect them tremendously while doing any research or searching for information online.