There’s nothing new about fake news. But in times of uncertainty a lot more is circulated on social media and other channels.
With so much information coming to you from so many different channels, you may feel overwhelmed. It’s often down to your own intuition to determine whether something is accurate.
You want to keep friends and family members up-to-date with the latest information. When you come across some new information, you might be tempted just to pass it on.
There’s two types of information you need to be mindful of; misinformation and disinformation.
- Misinformation is information that is inaccurate by error
- Disinformation is deliberately incorrect either for malicious or trouble-making reasons.
In either case, it can be challenging to sort COVID-19 facts from fiction. Here are seven simple tips to spot fake news and practice good information hygiene.
Stop and think
Instead of quickly passing new information on, experts say the best thing you can do is simply stop and think.
If you have any doubts, look into it further yourself before sharing.
Check your sources
Before you forward it on, the first question to ask is where the information has come from. If the original source is “a friend of a friend” or “your aunt’s colleague” then that should be a big red flag.
Alternatively, you can always call Cayman Islands’ National Emergency Operation Centre on 1-800-534-6555 to have any information verified.
Could it be fake?
Things might not always be as they seem. Images can be doctored so it looks like the information is coming from government officials or known news sources. Therefore, don’t just look at images or branding as signs something is trustworthy.
Reports were recently received of a WhatsApp account impersonating Cayman Islands Government Minister Julianna O’Connor Connolly.
Capital letters and mismatched fonts can be a big giveaway the information is fake.
Unsure? Don’t share
Don’t just share something “just in case” it might be true. You might be causing more harm than good.
The safest thing to do if you’re not sure, is to not share it any further.
Check each fact individually
You might receive something with lots of information, some of it you know to be true such as the importance of washing your hands, some you haven’t heard before.
It’s easy to believe all could therefore be true. But that might not be the case.
Beware of emotional posts
We are more likely to share things that make us fearful, angry, anxious or joyful even if they are not true.
Urgent calls for action are designed to make you feel anxious so be careful.
Think about biases
Are you sharing something because you know it’s true or just because you agree with it?
Experts say we’re likely to share posts that reinforce our existing beliefs but this may not be helpful.
Report suspected fake news
If you’ve received something via WhatsApp or seen something on social media that you don’t think looks quite right, you can report it here. Our team will investigate and share what they find to be untrue on the In the News section of this website.