As we create memes and share hoaxes with our friends and family on the internet, ask yourself this: is this hoax potentially dangerous if my grandma sees it? Will my grandma share fake news on her Facebook feed?
People create internet hoaxes for a variety of reasons. One of the most popular reasons is to influence individuals. It can be for a positive or negative purpose. However, more often than not, it is for the latter. Spreading hoaxes such as fake news can be incredibly harmful in the long run. Fake news hides in the safe and secure blanket of social media, a place where up until a few years ago, only shared organic content between close friends and family.
The tweet below is an example of a hashtag #NoDAPL that was found to be used by fake accounts on Twitter and then picked up by real accounts. Many of the fake accounts published multiple tweets with the #NoDAPL hashtag at nearly the same time, only a few minutes apart.
— 🇺🇸Thomas-S Fla🇺🇸 (@thomassfl) November 3, 2016
A harmful effect of fake news is how it intensifies conflict and social issues. It is hard to spot in the clutter of our social feeds and even easier to quickly comment on. As you open your social apps, here are some steps that you can take to identify a credible post.
- What is the source? Does it have one? Is it a reputable one? Have you heard of it before?
- Read the description of the article (if there is one).
- Where do the articles/posts sources come from?
By taking these small steps in your daily online activities, we can prevent hoaxes from gaining traction.
In conclusion, this is the type of content we want our grandmothers to be seeing:
Today’s is my Grandma’s 100th Birthday. She requested me to post her pic on Internet to get some good wishes. ❤️😇 pic.twitter.com/n4KSHpTWfu
— Yougle Fact (@YougleFact) September 10, 2019