Caught in a Fake

Cristina Tavares Correia

The Internet was a good invention. But not everything is fantastic. ‍

You and your friends have the Internet in the palm of your hand and just a click away. There are also a lot of people for whom the truth is unimportant and who earn money by spreading lies there - or telling things their own way, pass on dangerous ideas.

The problem is that the Internet is so fast that lies spread in hours or minutes and reach millions and millions of people.
This is exactly what happens with the fake news. Maybe you've even heard one, and you don't even know. Scary isn't it? Some call them "fake news".

False news has been on everyone's lips lately because it is so dangerous that even grown-ups are influenced and often manage to pit one person against another. It's like telling a lie ... Do not think that only the youngest fall into these spills; adults are often deceived by false news (or fakes), because whoever writes them has already become a master in the art of lying. We leave you here with useful clues to become a real fake news detective and not get caught on the "fake" network:

Hey, but not worth reading just the title! You have to read the rest of the news to make a conclusion, okay? Look for spelling or grammar errors, phrases that don't sound right, capitular titles (all in capital letters). But don't just stick to what you read in the title. It may be impressive, but it will be better to read the rest of the news to draw your conclusions.

  • Do some research: do other websites or newspapers give the same news? Search for a good search engine like Google, write the headline of the story you saw and see if more people are talking about it. Ask your parents or teachers for help and ask them which media they trust. See if they get the same news in the same way. If you don't find anyone else talking about it, maybe it's because the story is not well told.
  • Do the authors of the text provide evidence of what they are saying? Do they have good sources? That is a witness who saw everything or an expert on the subject which explains what happened, for example. And does this "specialist" really exist? Opens a new search window and searches for the name of the person they present as understood in the matter. If you see results about that person, see who he is, what he does, and what profession he has. If you can't find anything that can give you that information, it's probably because the "expert" or witness was invented.
  • Does the image that illustrates the news seem strange to you? Do you think it has to do with the news? Sometimes these fake news sites use loud and confusing images, designed to get your attention. If you think about it, maybe too crazy to be accurate or even have nothing to do with what you read.
  • On the website where you read the news, look for something that says "About us" or "Who we are". Media outlets usually explain who they are, what companies they belong to. They do and even give the address and phone number of their offices, or the email of a person in charge so that people can ask you questions. If none of this is in the news you read, perhaps it is because its authors may have something to hide.
How do you feel after reading it? Are you angry, suspicious or afraid? These are really the feelings that cheaters who write "fakes" want to cause in you. Talk to your parents, teachers or another adult you trust, tell them what you saw and how it makes you feel, and ask them to help you with your detective work.

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