In recent months, members of the Parry Sound Muskoka Riding Association have encountered an increasing number of fake news stories on social media.
Many people have heard about this phenomenon, but how many people actually know how to tell the difference between fake and real news?
Its a challenge we all face; particularly when our lives are busy.
Here are a few tips to help you keep your critical thinking skills sharp:
Beware of Headlines
We have long known that headlines are intended to grab our attention and are often sensationalized. What fake news does is rely on the short attention span our busy lives create to make sensational claims that will be as widely distributed as possible. Be on the look-out for headlines that generate a “whaaaat!?!?” Reaction. If you react that strongly, look more deeply before accepting it as truth.
Watch the Language
Most reputable media houses that are publishing (in any language) will do so while observing standard grammar and spelling norms. If an article is written in a way that shows a lack of mastery in the language the article is published in – it’s probably fake news.
Back It Up
If claims are made, take note of supporting evidence as well as the source of supporting evidence. For example, we found an article claiming our Prime Minsiter was so rich he bought Rideau Hall!
Check the Images
News coming from the source, eye witnesses, and other reputable sources usually have their own photography and they copyright their images. Photographers will usually have a social media account to check out.
Check the Author
Who wrote the article or captured the video (or whatever)? Do they have a history of taking positions on things?
Remember, Canada is democracy and our freedoms are the envy of the world. It’s up us to protect that by being informed citizens.
Thank you and good luck!
By Jen Alexis
Chair of the Parry Sound-Muskoka Liberal Women’s Club, March 2019