Fake news checklist to fight against misinformation

Fact and fake confusion
Context, source, relevance, motivation: Responsible Technology Australia has launched a useful checklist for social media users to spot fake news.

Fake news checklist

Want to spot fake news when it appears in your feed? Responsible Technology Australia, an independent organisation that advocates for the ethical progression of digital technology, offers some useful tips to follow:

1. Context

Where are you seeing this information – on a news website or social media? Algorithms on social media are designed to engage you, not inform you – so be skeptical.

2. Source

Who is sharing this information and is it an original piece or screen shot? Is it from a reputable news organisation, a random friend, or dodgy URL?

3. Relevance

When and where did this happen? Is this information up to date and relevant to where I live?

4. Motivation

Why would someone share this? Are they deliberately trying to make me feel confused, outraged, shocked or scared?

Fake information about coronavirus is diverting previous resources away from Australia’s fight against COVID-19, says Responsible Technology Australia as it launches a checklist for social media users to spot fake news.

“We know fake news is interfering with our fight against coronavirus, but we have no idea how much coronavirus fake news is circulating on social media right now or who it’s hitting,” said Chris Cooper, executive director of Responsible Technology Australia.

“This checklist is another tool in the toolbox for the public health campaign on COVID-19 – to make sure we’re all getting the right facts on how to stay healthy and stop the spread.”

Mr Cooper said internationally there was evidence of foreign actors running deliberate misinformation campaigns, which aimed to cause panic and sow distrust about coronavirus.

“Fake news comes in different forms. There are lies circulated in good faith, or misinformation, and lies circulated in bad faith, or disinformation.

“Misinformation is a bit like old wives’ tales that are supercharged by social media. But disinformation is designed to be divisive and corrode our trust in society. This is why our checklist says people should ask themselves is someone deliberately trying to make them have an emotional response.

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