Social media is unintentionally infested with fake news. Verifying original sources and detecting false ones on the internet is an accomplished skill. This week’s class readings emphasized the importance of verification and how tediously necessary these practices should be.

“Fake news” are stories containing falsities. The facts, sources, information, or quotes are unverifiable. A few methods of spreading fake news in a story could include posts about a hoax or misinformation regarding an individual or company.

In today’s networked world, people also intentionally spread fake information and rumors as a joke, to drive “likes” and followers, or simply to cause panic.

There’s a few websites to always treat cautiously. For example, 4chan is an anonymous site, which makes for easy mistakes across users. Reddit, the eighth most popular website in the world, allows for post submissions from any user. Despite its popularity though, it’s not seen as a dependable site for journalists. This is right up there with the dangers Twitter can arise as well.

Every social media site from Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram will contain falsely reported news though. People have a variety of reasons for distributing false information, such as targeting specific individuals or companies.

Some people go out of their way to deliberately hoax news organizations and the public by creating fake websites, inventing Twitter accounts, Photoshopping images or editing videos.

Examples of these are continuously shown in society, even with those in positions of power. For instance, prior to the 2020 election, President Trump had spread some false information via Twitter late spring. On his account, Trump tweeted that the mail-in ballots would be fraudulent. He also claimed California to be sending ballots to undocumented immigrants. His accusations were proven to be based on no prior information or factual statements.

There’s a few reasons why Trump may have decided to send out this information. With his democratic counterpart set to favor mail-in ballots, Trump may have decided to publish falsities regarding the ballots to improve his campaign. There wouldn’t be many people in favor of the United States granting these voting rights to illegal immigrants, or at least not without a reason.

The post was made on May 26, 2020 at 7:17am, posted from Trump’s phone. These claims were determined false by several news organizations, including CNN and Washington Post. These organizations utilized the opinions of experts and facts that contradict Trump’s claims to falsify the remark.

Steps to ensure verification include confirmations on many of the details involving the misinformation. In regards to social media posts, confirming things like the date, time and location is beneficial for fact-checking. Also confirming the source of the news is vital in the process. All of this can prove the authenticity of a piece of news.

A common result from misinformation on social media is more and more people promoting the misinformation unintentionally. Many journalists presume the news is accurate when in fact it’s not. They republish the same content to spread the newly-obtained information without realizing its’ inaccuracy.

Chapter 3 of the Verification Handbook discussed verification’s cruciality. The book explains how, “verification is a key skill, made possible through free online tools and old-fashioned journalism techniques.” A combination of both brain power and technological assistance are necessary for verification checks.

Hello! My name is Ryan Hampton. I’m currently a journalism major at the University of Houston. I have huge aspirations for teaching in the future.