If you want to make good and beneficial decisions as a productive member of society, it is necessary to stay informed about current events, and general issues of public importance. This would be straightforward if media and other sources of information could be trusted to publish pure, objective facts. Unfortunately, a lot of the information being distributed on a mass scale either contains false claims, or cherry-picked details, deliberately intended to mislead people and sew division for political reasons. This phenomenon is called fake news, and it has the potential to cause a lot of harm to those who consume it blindly. As the world adjusts to the crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic, there’s a good chance you’re going to encounter misinformation both in traditional media, and on many social media platforms you happen to use. Here are a few tips on how to detect fake news, and how to neutralize it, so that you can protect yourself from the destructive consequences of political deception:
1. Watch Out for Bias:
The primary reason why fake news is produced is to divide people, and to exploit collateral conflict triggered by social division. If you ever read, see or watch something which presents information in a partisan way, be careful not to sympathize with ideas which encourage you to be hostile for superficial reasons, or skeptical of common sense.
2. Don’t Join the Fray:
The most toxic part of any social media site is the comments section. Between trolls, bots, and downright ignorant people provoking arguments on the Internet, the last thing society needs is more angry voices adding to the tension. This is why you should be a voice of reason in all your online interactions. Avoid starting, or getting into fights whenever you engage on social media.
3. Don’t Attack People, Attack Lies:
Even though you may not have any intention of getting caught up in online fights, sometimes there’s no choice but to confront people who cross the line. Whenever this happens, remember to practice decorum and defend your point of view with grace. Allowing debates and arguments to get personal not only interferes with your argument, it puts you in a position jeopardize your reputation.
4. Be Academic:
Being well-read is the foundation of authentic intelligence. Broaden your horizons by being scientific and obtaining your information from multiple sources. Don’ t just depend on one single source of information because it reinforces your personal opinion. Read widely and learn your facts so that you can determine the unassailable truth, and defend it successfully.
5. Don’t Endorse Lies:
Everyone in this world is entitled to have their own opinions. However, no one is entitled to have their own facts. Facts are universal, absolute truths which always remain valid when scrutinized or put to the test. If the ideas and arguments being conveyed through a source of information contain multiple lies, and inconsistent opinions, chances are you’re being exposed to malicious misinformation. Disregard it, and look for sources which are more honest.
Misinformation is becoming such a commonplace practice that society is growing numb to it. Without question, this is wrong. The less people rely on truth to guide decision-making, the more vulnerable society becomes to bad judgment on a mass scale. A crisis like the coronavirus pandemic is the worst possible time for anyone to exercise bad judgment, let alone entire populations. Even if you might not be able to change or control the fact that fake news exists, you can still fight against its intended purpose by being sober-minded and embracing facts. Be discerning about the information you consume, and be disciplined about how you react to others because of the information consume.