Are you being fed fake news during the coronavirus crisis?

How quickly can you spot fake news? The Washington Post recently conducted a study and concluded that “it isn’t easy for ordinary citizens to identify fake news,” especially surrounding the coronavirus. Even if you haven’t taken a news literacy class, you are most likely familiar with the notion of not believing everything you read. But how can you be certain what you read is true?
As readers, we are informed about topics based on our prior knowledge, yet the rate of fake news articles being shared has increased during the pandemic. To help avoid believing untrue news, our PRGN partner Industrie Contact from Germany recommends all news consumers follow a few rules to ensure the information you read is accurate and credible.

In addition to those, I would also recommend the following to avoid the spread of coronavirus fake news:

For the readers:

Check the facts against a variety of sources
Be wary of stories that haven’t been reported by other credible news outlets. Check your reliable news outlets to see if the same information is being reported.

Don’t just click and share
If a headline sounds unbelievable, it probably is. Don’t fall for clickbait, – actually open up the story to ascertain its credibility.

Be aware and do your due diligence
During this pandemic, crime rates have skyrocketed. Among them is the spread of misinformation. Don’t believe everything you read and do more due diligence when it comes to information surrounding the virus.

For the writers:

Tap into your trusted sources
This is a good time to turn to your trusted sources. See if they can offer a different perspective to the story.

Find the good
Focus on reporting on the positive news that has come during this time. The pandemic is not all doom and gloom, but many times it brings people together in unique ways to do good.

Do your part to do no harm
One could argue that during this time, it does more harm to ignore fake news than to step up as a purveyor of credible news. When you come across fake news, do what you can to let others know it isn’t reliable information by reporting the account and commenting on its credibility.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash
Written by
at Apr 8, 2020

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