If 10 people saw the same accident, each of their versions would be different.
This is the same for journalists. Not all journalists are guilty of biased reporting. Some are guilty of straight lies to stir up a public reaction.
Have you ever shared a post on Facebook saying a famous actor was dead? Then you find out it is only a hoax. If this is the case then you have been a victim of fake news.
Some fake news stories are less malicious than others. Some stories, however, have been featured to breed racial hatred and abuse.
Take this recent article which featured prominently on Facebook
It was reported this Muslim woman had been beaten by her husband. Then forced to wear a hijab to cover her bruises up. On investigation, this woman is a makeup artist who shares pictures of her art. This shot was done as an example of some of her special effects makeup.
One week later a video appeared on Facebook. It was reported to show a group of Muslim men beating people in a car. The Muslims were allegedly trying to shut off a road in Birmingham. They wanted to set up to eat and break their Ramadan fasting. When a car attempted to drive down the road they stopped it beat the occupants with baseball bats.
On closer investigation, the footage was actually of Swiss football hooligans in 2006.
What You Can Do?
With all this misinformation how are we meant to know what is the truth?
- Firstly, know that this type of reporting is common.
- When you see a report think about the subject. What is the article trying to achieve? Is the article trying to stir up civil unrest? Could it be misinformation to stir this opinion up?
- Research for yourself. A simple image search of the Muslim woman’s face would have brought up the original post.
- Read widely then make your own opinion based on knowledge and intelligence.
- Help others by hi-light these fake news stories when you discover them. Share these as widely as you would the fake story.
What is the most outrageous fake story you have come across?