Fake news is another hazard of technology advancement and networking because it always existed but now as people are active on social media websites, they see various viral posts that include news, content and pictures which affect their mindset towards certain things/people/scenarios to a great extent. The Fake news has a wide reach through the INTERNET and most people fall for such news because these are conveyed in such a way that it seems actual. Students are the most vulnerable to such fake news viral posts because they are young minds and have little knowledge of the factual data and hence, they easily get influenced by the fake news sources.
Here we are discussing the sources of fake news, types of fake news and what steps students should take to save themselves and others from this trending hazard –
Sources of fake news –
- Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp etc.
- Fake news websites
- Fake news websites using names of real media channels or websites with slight difference in the name or website URL. for example – real news website: timesofindia.indiatimes.com and fake news website: timesindia.com
- Rumours spread around in social circles
Types of fake news –
1. For entertainment purpose– Use of pictures and content that is used to entertain the readers and it has nothing factual but the audience does not understand it is based on facts or not.
For example – Memes/Trolls regarding the life of engineering students; it is used for fun but some people develop this understanding that engineering course students ‘actually’ go through such situations.
2. Use of fake image or title for Irrelevant content – It relates two things which have no logical similarity, where photos' title or news/article headline promotes a story but the content does not match with the headline or picture.
For example – ‘Amitabh Bachchan is in Hospital’with an image showing him ill/wounded but then the content mentions that he is shooting a scene for his upcoming movie.
Such headlines/title/pictures make the reader click on the link and increase the user count for these websites which help them (websites) make revenue.
3. Misinterpreted information – Content that presents real information, even imagery and video, but is manipulated in some way to tell a different story by misuse of information to show an issue in completely different meaning.
For example – A viral video of a mother making her child do homework in a strict manner but it is interpreted as ‘Some teacher harassing kid’. People share such videos without cross-checking and it harms the image of people involved.
4. Completely baseless content – This type of story is completely fake (i.e. never existed) and designed with the intention to do harm.
For example – Some group spreading fake news regarding religious beliefs of some people with an intention to start conflicts among different religious groups.
5. Rumours spread by blind followers – Sometimes, just to make people a follower /to increase fan following of some person, their blind followers spread words which are not true.
For example – Followers of some politician spread fake stories about his good deeds/work for society so that people start following him and vote for him.
Overall we can say that fake news is intended to influence the young minds such as for political gain/influence or sometimes, people want to show off their connections with popular people, organisation, brand or anything that is of high importance for people.
How should school students deal with fake news?
Students need to work like a journalist in order to identify the fake news. The following tips to deal with fake news will be helpful in this–
1. Identifying the source of the news: whenever you get to know about something then you need to consider the questions like – Where did the news come from? Is the channel/immediate person sharing the news reliable?
Always keep in mind the trusted sources for any kind of news or information are your parents, siblings, best friends, and school teachers only. Never trust any other source other than them for any information; especially the social media sites should never be trusted for information because 80-90% news/data is fabricated there.
2. The channel of fake news: Even if the immediate source of information/news can be trusted then also students need to verify that, from where the news/information came into existence?
3. The relevance of fake news: Students need to check the relevancy of the news or information for them. They should not only check the reliability of the source but also check other sources/websites for the same news/information. If the same news is available on top news websites in the same manner then the news/information can be trusted and if not then, it is definitely fake news. This method of identifying information for fake news is called fact check.
Conclusion: Awareness regarding fake news among school students is essential because they should know the truth/fact about things in their surroundings and should be protected from the negative impacts of such news. Students should not believe everything they see, read, or hear. There is always a different story than what is conveyed through these fake news websites and hence, students are advised to cross-check everything in detail.