Fake news isn’t a new concept, but it has been getting a lot of attention recently. There is much debate about what news can be considered fake and whether bias means that a news source is automatically discredited. Social media doesn’t make this situation any easier. Now, anyone can post something that they claim to be fact, and people will pass it around and believe without the need for further research or expert confirmation. So, as an unbiased news source, Bold TV decided to speak to an expert and learn how to spot fake news and possibly combat its spread in the future. Helen Lee Bouygues is the founder of the Reboot Foundation, and her mission is to integrate critical thinking into the daily lives of people around the world.
How to detect fake information
Bouygues explains that detecting fake news can be difficult, but the best way is through media literacy and research. Simply put, media literacy is about becoming capable, analytical, and literate in all media forms so that you can control how you interpret what you see and hear without letting the source control you. Bouygues says that media literacy is something that can and should be taught to students as young as elementary school-aged. With the increased ability for false information to spread on social media, maybe we will see more of these classes in the future.
Confusing fake news with bias
Bias is an issue, but it isn’t as big a problem as fake news is. Most publications and reporters have some sort of bias even if they try to avoid it. In fact, checking opposing views on a topic is what will help you establish your own thoughts on it. Google is designed to show you things based on your past search history, essentially putting you in a tunnel where you only get information from sources that you have visited before. Don’t rely on just one article or newscast for all of your information on a topic. Looking around and reading multiple sources opens you up to other interpretations and to analyze and help you to draw your conclusions.
How social media contributes to fake news
Reboot Foundation’s studies show that active social media users have more regular access to fake news than those who aren’t active on social media. This is where the danger lies for the younger generation. We may assume that because Gen-Z grew up with social media at their fingertips, they would be better equipped to navigate it, but if they aren’t educated, they could fall prey to misinformation. Bouygues explains that because of social media algorithms, once you are exposed to fake news, it is easy to fall into a fake news tunnel and see more and more posts containing false information. Of course, social media platforms have started to label posts as false, but if people can still post and view and share them, does this make a difference?