June 15, 2024

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how to check information online?

3 min read
check information

Democratization of information requires everyone to obtain, distribute and share content in seconds. However, sometimes false information can be found on the Internet. How not to be fooled? France 3 Bourgogne gives you some keys. 

Information circulates so much on the Internet that it is sometimes difficult to disentangle the true from the false. Despite the risk of being tricked, many do not take the time to verify the reliability of information before sharing it. 

What is false information?

In its guide, Check Fake news, the Visibrain monitoring company details the different forms that false information can take.

News has many ways of being false. First, it may simply be wrong. The author can be mistaken. Errare humanum est, one would say. (To be wrong is human, so you don’t speak Latin?). Then, the information can be a parody. Gorafi, in particular, has made it its specialty.

What is an infox?

Infox n.f Neologism. A portmanteau word made up of info and intox. False information, intentionally designed to mislead and disseminated in mass media.Also known by its American name  fake news,  infox is characterized by its desire to deceive the reader. It is often disguised as a serious site. But beneath its (re) known media appearances hides a tissue of lies. 

Even if the phenomenon is not new and already existed in the 18th century during the French Revolution, it has accelerated in recent years with the advent of digital tools. The Internet and social networks are indeed fertile ground for this false information.

Sharing fake news: what consequence?

Relaying false information can have devastating consequences. In particular, an infox can have an influence on the vote of citizens during elections. In the United States, the 2016 presidential campaign was hampered by numerous rumors and false information .

It is for the moment impossible to measure the real weight of this false information in the result of the ballot. Nevertheless, it is certain that the campaign of the democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was weighed down by these infoxes of all kinds.

Fake news can also increase the climate of panic during large-scale events. Each attack invariably generates its share of false information and rumors. Ifop published in February 2019 a study on conspiratorial representations in French society. The results indicate that one in ten French people think that the Strasbourg attack in December 2018 is in fact a manipulation by the government.

How to avoid falling into the trap of fake news?

In the midst of this mass of information, how do you know what is true and what is not? What is verified, proven and what is just a vast hoax?

To avoid falling into the trap, a few basic rules must be observed. Online and free tools also allow you to spot fake news. 

Tip 1: identify the source of information

Sometimes this first step is enough. To identify the source, you can first go to the informative and descriptive page of the site you are viewing. This is usually called apropos or who are we. If the information on it is cloudy, beware!

In addition, the articles are generally signed. Some sites choose to publish articles on the condition of anonymity. This is not an apparent problem, but it prevents you from determining who is behind the content you are reading.

 Be careful, some sites are politically oriented, for example, but do not display their bias. Be wary.

Read also: How is social media advertising useful for restaurants?

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