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How To Avoid Sharing Fake News

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How To Avoid Sharing Fake News

Fake news, as many people know it to be, is not a new issue. It’s a long-existing one. The reason why it seems recent is because of the advent of the social media, digital technologies, and so on. Though many call it “Fake News”, it is preferable to call it Information Disorder. In fact, UNESCO recognises Fake News as Information Disorder.

What is Information Disorder?
According to NCBI, Information Disorder Syndrome is sharing or developing of false information with or without the intent of causing harm, and they are categorised into misinformation, disinformation and malinformation. But the focus of this article is on Misinformation.

What is Misinformation?
Misinformation, according to Dubawa.org, “involves the sharing of false or inaccurate information without knowing them to be false without the intent to cause harm and sometimes with the goal of helping recipients.” It can be said to be the most popular form of information disorder. It is not a creation of information like disinformation, rather it is sharing.

There are many examples of Misinformation such as satires, etc. Dubawa debunked Misinformation claims like the one that said certain foods can cure blood pressure; inserting garlic cloves in the ear could cure ear-infection etc. Even one claim went viral saying eating Ewedu (a vegetable) will cure COVID-19.

All the same, the fact that misinformation has no intent does not make it safe or acceptable. Actually, its presumed innocence makes it even more dangerous. Hence, here are some steps to follow in order to avoid sharing them:

1. Stop and Think: This is very important because many don’t stop to think about information before they share; they just send them. It is beneficial to take a deep breath before sending out any information to into cyberspace. According to Academic research, it has been discovered that stoping and thinking about information makes it easy to identify misinformation. Checking out biases is very important because we all have sentiments. For example, if you are sentimental about a particular issue there is a high probability that you circulate any information surrounding that particular matter.

2. Prebunking: According to Authors, Laura Garcia and Tommy Shane, this act is the “process of debunking lies, tactics, or sources before they strike”. Dubawa.org is one of the good plugs to enhance this skill as you can check for accurate and verified information.

3. Emotional assessment is very key too. A person’s mood matters to when it comes to sharing misinformation. A calm person will take his time before sending out any information at all unlike an angry or moody personality.

4. Another step to take is alerting people about the falsity of an information even when it has gone viral. Visiting factcheck websites such as Africa Check, People’s Check, Dubawa etc will help in taking this step successfully too. Use of Logical reasoning to explain the information’s ingenuity is another way of debunking misinformation.

In addition, stopping the sharing of misinformation or any form of information disorder is the duty of everybody. So, all hands is expected to be on deck. Truly, information and communication technologies is enhancing the spread of this form of information disorder but still everyone has to continuously empower themselves to fight against it.

Source: Dubawa.org

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