Fake news – the name given to false information spread over the Internet – has become a worldwide epidemic. Learn how to protect your online radio.
Fake news is the distribution of false information or rumors via printed newspapers, television, radio, or online media. At its core, this type of news is about misleading readers, either for financial or political gain, often through sensationalist, exaggerated, or patently false headlines. These news stories have attractive headlines and are designed to increase readers, shares, and clicks on the site or profile.
Fake news also undermines professional press coverage and ultimately leads to journalists finding it challenging to cover important information. The term “Fake News” may be recent, but misinformation has a historical context. For centuries, the intentional production of content intended to confuse consumers has been around.
Much of the Fake News is based on actual events but is deliberately misleading for political, economic, and ideological reasons.
Why are Fake News so dangerous?
Usually, false information is intended to create a controversy around a situation or a person, defaming their image. Fake News attracts people’s attention, mainly when referring to the part of the population starting in the digital world by having controversial and appealing content.
Therefore, it is easy to turn these false contents into illegal weapons against something or someone. Politics is greatly influenced by fake news, which is often used to damage the reputation of a specific candidate, leading to the loss of potential voters.
Today, people use social networks as the largest source of news, and research shows that the tendency is to increase. This indicates that the impact of false information can reach and influence countless people quickly and generate moral and financial damages to its targets. Despite being less visible, Fake News harms all people, including those not famous.
How to recognize fake news?
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) recently published a list of tips intended to help readers identify fake news:
- Research the source of information and try to understand the intent of the media outlet that published it by looking at other publications on the website
- Try to read the whole story
- Check the authors, and make sure they really exist and can be trusted
- Find other sources that confirm the news story
- Check the date of publication. See if the story is still relevant and up to date
- Consider whether the text might be a satire
- Check if your biases may be affecting your judgment regarding the news story
- Seek confirmation of the news from independent and knowledgeable people
- Some institutions set out to check information and judge it fake or accurate.
Facebook has already committed to helping its users identify fake news and included a section with tips on recognizing false information on its platform in several countries.
Readers are also becoming more skeptical and attentive. Increasingly, people seek to check facts before accepting them as truth and avoid sharing information for fear that the information may be false.
The brain’s readiness to accept fake news
According to Bettina J. Casad in the Encyclopedia Britannica, pre-existing beliefs make the human brain accept information more readily and repel or ignore it if it challenges its opinions.
This inclination is known to science as confirmation bias. It is considered one of the reasons why Fake News is so appealing and spreads faster than genuine information.
False information spreads effortlessly on social networks. They usually appeal to the emotional side or stimulate some political goal, further reinforcing beliefs in the reported content. This leads them to be frequently shared and commented on with no fact-checking of the news sources by the users.
Critical sense is the weapon to fight fake news
The duty to combat Fake News is not the sole responsibility of journalists. It is necessary to invest in media education. It makes people question the contents broadcast by prominent media outlets and smaller vehicles.
The growing popularity of websites creating content, many of them hosted anonymously, and the consequent lack of renowned publishers help spread the Fake News. Consequently, it is increasingly difficult to prosecute the authors for libel.
The primary way to detect false information is through cyber education. But this kind of literacy must have the commitment of various sectors of society. This is the digital education that needs to be used to strengthen freedom of expression and the use of the Internet democratically and consciously.
Moreover, public policies are needed to raise awareness among the population and punish those responsible for creating intentional fake news.
Fake news on internet radios
Suppose you have an online radio station. In that case, you must be extra careful not to spread false information to your listeners.
Imagine yourself sharing a piece of news with your listeners which is not true and then having it denied in another media outlet. It wouldn’t go down well, would it? Credibility is the key to the success of your online radio. So, take note of all the tips mentioned above; they are also valid for your online radio.
You must continually offer the most accurate, unbiased information from respected sources to your audience. The quality and incredibly reliable content will only add value to your online. It will provide more credibility, and your listeners will know they can trust your internet radio to always receive the best information.
Deliver the best content to your audience, and they will be loyal!
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