Here's How To Validate COVID-19 Information on Your Feed
Steer clear of fake news
We are in the midst of a global pandemic. One that has required many of us to hole up in our homes to contain the spread of coronavirus and the other half, the frontliners, to face it head on.
But we civilians have our own responsibilities to fulfill while we #StayAtHome: be mindful of what we consume and share online or within our own groups. Unverified information or fake news creates unnecessary confusion, fear, panic and stress. But you and I have the power to help reduce the spread of misinformation.
Our friends over at Facebook share five simple steps to check information in your feed before hitting share:
#1 Check that headline
Inspect the headline. More often than not, false news stories have sensational titles and tend to be written in ALL CAPS or with too many exclamation points! Be wary of any piece of information that is delivered in this manner as they are likely untrue.
Learn to fact-check and take note of the website name and URL. Some try to imitate those of authentic news outlets with oft-overlooked changes, like a capital “I” for a lowercase “l” or a zero “0” for an “o.” Best to open a new browser window and go to the actual site. Then compare the real URL with the other to see which one is credible.
#2 Time to investigate
So you’ve decided to open the URL or article link. Time to inspect the article and check the following items:
- Author’s name (is he or she a credible news source?)
- Author history (what other stories has he or she written before?)
- Website’s About section
Also be on the lookout for inconsistencies in timelines, clumsy formatting and misspellings, as well as manipulated photos and videos.
#3 He said, she said
Take note of experts cited or quoted in the story but with no actual names or designation (i.e., “a top expert says…”) as this might already be an indication that it’s fake news. Likewise, tap on the sources the author or writer referred to. Are they accurate or credible?
#4 Compare notes
Check other news sources reporting on a similar story and cross-check the data with credible sources, like the World Health Organization (WHO) or The Department of Health (DOH) in the Philippines. A story is most likely true if credible sources are also reporting on it.
#5 In local and global health authorities we trust
To be sure you are reading and consuming accurate information, trust only the health authorities for updates:
Information is power, but only if that information is validated by credible sources and is communicated objectively. Be critical of the news you read and share; you can use the above guide as a starting point.
Came across fake news? Stop the spread and report it by clicking the at the top right of the post, clicking Find Support or Report Post, then reporting it as false news.