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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

I do give a fact How millennials can promote truth in the age of ‘fake news’

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Over the past two years, the Internet, has become a hotbed of fake news and false information spread to manipulate, sway public opinion, and quash dissent. 

I do give a fact How millennials can promote truth in the age of ‘fake news’
PURVEYOR OF TRUTH. As the generation with the biggest online presence, millennials play a significant role in ensuring the truth prevails amid rampant spread of false information on the Internet. 

The term fake news has become popular two years ago after the US election, and is fast becoming a global problem, considered one of the greatest threats to democracy. 

Our country also has its fair share of fake news items and fake news sites.

In April this year, Facebook had begun taking down several websites publishing fake articles, primarily those that posted about President Rodrigo Duterte. The social media giant has also tapped third-party fact-checking programs to address the spread of fake news among Filipinos Facebook users.

Despite the proliferation of misinformation, majority of Filipino users believes that fake news is a serious problem on the Internet, according to a survey by Social Weather Station in June 2018. 

I do give a fact How millennials can promote truth in the age of ‘fake news’
Getting your news from social media might not be the best idea. 

As the generation with the biggest online presence, millennials, or those aged 22 to 36, play a significant role in making sure the truth prevails amid the rampant spread of false information. According to a recent data from The Statistics Portal, 98 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds in the US use the Internet. 

But how exactly can one tell fake news from factual ones? The Public Relations Society of the Philippines shares these tips to help millennials promote truth in the age of disinformation:

Go only to reliable sites

Do not rely on social media for news. Both local and international publications have their own websites from which to get news. 

For research requirements, on the other hand, there are specific sites on the web for different topics. 

Do not take everything at face value

I do give a fact How millennials can promote truth in the age of ‘fake news’
Be objective in consuming content, especially now that they are available online and offline.

Practice critical thinking when reading and sharing articles, especially on the Internet. Don’t presume that an article, tweet, or post is true simply because it has been liked, commented on, or shared many times.  

If a piece of information sounds suspicious or ridiculous, research about it. If the article makes extraordinary or outrageous claims such as having found the cure for an illness or discovered the fountain of youth, take that as a sign to evaluate the content or message. 

Don’t fall for click-bait titles. Be wary as well of provocative headlines or those that emphasize emotionality. 

In a 2016 report on the NBC News, a teenager from Macedonia, who admitted to earning thousands of dollars publishing fake articles, said the most read news were usually those with click-bait words. 

“The click-bait words, as you know, are, ‘Oh my god, breaking news, wow,’ and usually something that has never been aired before,” said Dimitri (not his real name). 

If, however, you do end up reading the article, read beyond the title and examine the article as a whole.

Remember that truth is non-partisan

I do give a fact How millennials can promote truth in the age of ‘fake news’
If a piece of information sounds suspicious or ridiculous, research about it. 

Be objective in consuming content, whether or not it validates a political position. Do not depend on political parties for your news consumption, as they tend to present data favorable only to their positions on causes. 

Check for biases. Evaluate the tone or words used. These should be neutral and objective and not be used to present the topic, person, event, or issue as bad or good. A news article, professionally written following the tenets of journalism, in particular, should be unbiased and present the different, if not all, sides of a story. 

Verify data

Start with the date of the article. News should be about recent events. Check and question the source or sources of data. If the article fails to provide references, be even more vigilant. Make sure that the information comes from credible media outlets or personalities. Cross-check with other articles online to see if the information written is consistent. Is there an author? Is the author a credible source? Are the pictures used credible?  

I do give a fact How millennials can promote truth in the age of ‘fake news’
Majority of online Filipinos believes that fake news is a serious problem on the Internet.

Check the About Us section of the website to assess the credibility of the site. Look also at the web domain: Many fake news sites duplicate the domain names of credible news sites to fool readers. 

Another alternative is to use fact-checking websites to verify the article in question. For example is Fakeblok, a journalist-moderated tool that guards against fake news, which the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility launched in June 2017. 

Be a purveyor of truth

Use social media accounts wisely. Share only verified content to prevent the further spread of false information. Make fact-checking a habit whether sharing a news article or a tweet. 

Encourage family and friends to do the same. If a friend or family member shares a fake story, let them know and help them learn how to discern between real and fake news. 

The 25th National PR Congress on Sept. 27-28 will tackle this hot topic. 

Happening at Bonifacio Hall, Shangri-La at the Fort in BGC, the congress will turn the spotlight on building consensus to explore ways to ensure truth in the practice of communication. 

With the theme “Truth or Trolls: PR in the Age of Disinformation,” the annual PR Congress engages all PR and communication practitioners and aspirants to uphold truth in the age of disinformation. A distinguished lineup of thought leaders and subject matter experts will share their insights on key issues affecting the industry and our nation.

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