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Can you spot and verify misinformation?

Are you sure all the information you’re getting is real?
Have you prepared yourself for the onslaught of fake news during elections, health emergencies, and product marketing?

Living in the post-truth era, every story and image is possibly altered or created for a political end or to push a product. Most media and advertisers are framing and bidding for greater audiences, ratings, and sale outcomes. Political groups and cyber warriors continually attempt to brainwash the public so as to influence our beliefs and attitudes. The truth becomes obscured. Misinformation can have a terrifying and damaging impact on our real world.

Because distinguishing right from wrong, correct from incorrect, and fact from fiction becomes increasingly difficult, it’s critical to value the actual truth. Here are tips to help you spot and discern whether the contents you’ve received are real or fake.

  1. Don’t believe everything you see and hear.
Always be skeptical and view information through a lens of doubt even with your favorite sources.

  1. Don’t let your emotions influence your judgment.

Pause and calm down. Ask yourself if a story or a provocative headline was created for your attention and to elicit an emotional reaction?

  1. Do a quick online search for relevant information and original sources.
  •   Check the author and the date to ensure they are credible or relevant to the events.
  •   Consider any bias of the suspected source by leaving the content to investigate the host site.
  1. Do pay attention to URLs and links.
  •   Check the domain and URL even when the site looks professional.
  •   Click those attached source links to determine if the given information actually supports the story.

  1. Do read beyond the content and look through comments.

Headlines or comments don’t always tell the whole story. Read further, consult a fact-checking site, or check if someone has replied with credible evidence.