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False News: Don’t Be A Sheep Simply Following The Herd

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“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”

George Bernard Shaw made this statement quite a few decades ago. Yet, it is still relevant in today’s times. There is something about spreading false rumours that people find too appealing. This is not limited to public opinion only, but also applies to the ones that shape that opinion, news and media. There are a few ways to debunk false news. Some may be quite simple while others may require a little more effort.

1. Headlines

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Sometimes, the headlines alone are evidence to false news. Stories, that are mainly aimed at shaping public opinion to a different idea, often have catchy and exclamatory headlines. While this may provide a better quantity of readership, it often deteriorates the quality.

2. URL

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Articles with false stories often try to aim the users to their own content by making small changes in the URLs of already established sources. A common example of this is the spam message telling the users to visit a certain link assuring them of great prizes if they continue the chain of the message. Big companies like Amazon and Flipkart are often chosen by this spam message, hoping people will think that the companies are actually offering something. All the while it is someone else generating traffic on his webpage.

3. Source

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Often, articles on the web provide sources to different parts of their articles. You can visit the credible sources and confirm the story.

4. Formatting

False news often make spelling and grammar errors. Look out for such errors, as credible news is often proofread before it is posted on the internet.

5. Timeline

Creating a story is not easy. Sometimes mistakes are made. Look out for the dates and the timelines in the articles. The people who create false news often do not have the facts and tend to mess up the timelines in their articles.

 

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However, just as Mark Twain said, “All generalizations are false, including this one”, we must understand that sometimes humans make mistakes. This does not mean that any articles with the above issues is a false news. These are signs that appear more often than usual but the only way to truly segregate between the truth and the lies is to only read the stories that have a good credibility.

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