At this day and age we receive news in so many forms be it our TV screens, newspapers, websites, social media to word of mouth. We have to be more vigilant and ensure what we are consuming is verified, especially now where the world finds itself at an extreme stand still because of Covid19. Fake news adds more fuel to fear, creates misconceptions leading to more costly consequences like as far as affecting the economy, the view of a nation or its people, it can even lead to the innocent being perpetrated and the guilty being acquitted.
Ian Wafula, BBC Africa Journalist recently shared tips on his twitter on how to identify Fake News after The Southern Times Newspaper from South Africa had published their frontline story as one advising the readers to avoid Kenyans at all costs. This story caused panic yet it was completely fake. Here are the key fact check steps to take when consuming any worldwide news:
Step 1: Search the headline of the article online to see if this is something that has been written or shared in other media platforms.
Step 2: Visit the publisher's website or social media account. A top story of such magnitude would be on their front pages.
Step 3: Contact publisher, to query the facts of the story published.
Step 4: Check what other news stories are shared by the publisher and then search them online.
Step 5: Ask around, find out what other people are saying about the news you querying over and see what others find too.
Ian reminds us to be aware of the endless fake news stories causing panic and unnecessary tensions. He urges us to ensure that we rely on credible news sources and fact checkers. Most times if the news is fake you will find the mishap very quickly, so if something looks like a big story before jumping into conclusion ensure the information your reading is verified.
Following suite with the above steps will really help maintain our sanity when everything that we are going through feels completely insane and often takes a while to digest that we are indeed going through this globally. As Ian so rightly states Covid19 alone is enough to deal with and honestly speaking in times like this we really need to protect our mental state.