Article by our Digital Learning and Youth Leadership Program Lead, Hamza Arsbi
Where to Start?
A paper shared by Matthew Baum and others in 2017, puts forward possible pathways for reducing fake news, including:
1- Offering feedback to users that particular news may be fake. This has been implemented to some degree by Facebook and Twitter. This course of action does seem to depress the overall sharing of the content.
2- Providing ideologically compatible sources that confirm that particular news is fake. This involves collaboration between social media, news sources, and community leaders so they can reach people and combat any misinformation.
3- Detecting information that is being promoted by bots and “cyborg” accounts and tuning algorithms to not respond to those manipulations. While it has been increasingly harder to discern fake social media accounts, new advances in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Learning provide an opportunity to find and close ‘bot accounts’ more effectively.
4- Because a few sources may be the origin of most fake news, identifying those sources and reducing promotion (by the platforms) of information from those sources. This can include specific governments, extremist groups, and other global actors that can be identified and targeted.
What Tools Are Available?
Luckily, fact-checking sites and reliable sources have been increasingly prevalent. By spreading awareness to tools such as the ones listed below, local communities can be better informed and protected from misinformation. Development organizations are also urged to translate and provide similar tools in local languages to ensure access and use. Some useful tools include:
Fact Check: factcheck.org/
BBC Reality Check: bbc.com/news/reality-check
Channel 4 Fact Check: channel4.com/news/factcheck
Reverse image search from Google: google.com/reverse-image-search
Guide: How to fight lies, tricks, and chaos online: https://www.theverge.com/21276897/fake-news-facebook-twitter-misinformation-lies-fact-check-how-to-internet-guide