It’s important to pause and reflect on the information you’re consuming. This vignette looks at examples of information that appears “real” but isn’t, and the consequences associated with spreading it without thinking.
Transcript in English (PDF 320 KB)
Every day, billions of people share billions of messages across social media. It’s a pretty good bet that one or more of those messages are going to find you. It’s also a pretty good bet that you’ll want to share a few of them with your social media network. But here again, the question is: Should you? Really?
One of the most important things that we as social media consumers and information sharers should know is that just because someone wrote something or put it in a video, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true. We’ve already recommended that when that juicy tidbit comes across your feed that you stop. Now let’s look at that piece of content and what it means. Let’s reflect.
Being able to discern what is fact and what is just a matter of opinion, as well as taking the time to think deeply and carefully about what you’ve just seen, will make you a much smarter and responsible social media user or news consumer.
A fact is a piece of information that is verifiable, no matter how you look at it; say your height or shoe size. An opinion, on the other hand, is a subjective point of view that’s not always true for everyone, everywhere. Like who’s the greatest athlete in history. Both are vital pieces of news and information — as long as you understand the difference. When someone forwards a story to you or you find something that piques your interest, it is always a good idea to determine just how credible it is. Some of the savviest manipulators of news and information know that by adding just enough facts to make the story believable, they can grab your attention — for example, by using the name of a politician, a chief executive of a company, or the logo of a news channel. Many false and misleading news stories are designed to look in a way where you can’t tell the difference between what is fake and what is real.
Reflecting on the information before you share it involves reading the whole story, and not just the headline. That means examining your own biases and those of the person or organization that sent it to you. Ask yourself if multiple voices and viewpoints are represented. Are those voices credible? What is the evidence, and is it verifiable on other channels or websites?
So before you share that story – REFLECT!
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