Don’t feed the beast
Just because a story appears online, doesn’t make it true. The internet is great, but it can also be used to spread disinformation in the form of misleading news and content. When shared, disinformation can take on a life of its own, and have some serious consequences. It can lead to health scares, false accusations and potentially damaging hoax stories. It’s not always easy to spot, so using the S.H.A.R.E checklist can help you make sure that you don’t feed the beast.
What does it mean for me?
Measles can affect your hearing and cause blindness. Misleading information about vaccines can leave the most vulnerable at risk. Please click here for further information on vaccinations.
Recently, a widely shared video claiming to show extremists rioting in Birmingham was actually a clip of football fans in Switzerland fighting after a match.
Incorrect reports of violent outbreaks during the riots in 2011, led to widespread panic, and in some cases were believed to have fuelled more rioting and escalated the seriousness of the situation.
Use the S.H.A.R.E checklist
Before you like, comment or share online, use the S.H.A.R.E checklist to make sure you’re not contributing to the spread of harmful content.
Make sure that the story is written by a source you trust, with a reputation for accuracy. If it’s from an unfamiliar organisation, check for a website’s ‘About’ section to learn more.
Always read beyond the headline. If it sounds unbelievable, it very well might be. Be wary if something doesn’t seem to add up.
Make sure you check the facts. Just because you have seen a story several times, doesn’t mean it’s true. If you’re not sure, look at fact checking websites and other reliable sources to double check.
Check whether the image looks like it has been or could have been manipulated. False news stories often contain retouched photos or re-edited clips. Sometimes they are authentic, but have been taken out of context.
Many false news stories have phony or look-alike URLs. Look out for misspellings, bad grammar or awkward layouts.