How to Identify False Information On The Web?

Known as “Fake News”, information created as if it were real with the intention of misinforming in order to manipulate the masses and spread false news through, mainly, social networks. But there are a series of checks that people can easily carry out to confirm the veracity of the information. Among them, verify the medium, the context and the date the news was published.

“It is key that people read the entire story, not just the headline, that they find out the source from which it comes, if they are not sure, it is better to contrast the information with other more reliable means,” explained Kenneth Monge, professor of Cybersecurity at Cenfotec University.

Search the headline on Google

If it is true, it is likely that other reliable media have reproduced it, checking for misspellings or errors in the text and if the images are pixelated or appear to be retouched can help avoid becoming a target for scams.

“Spreading fake news can have very serious consequences, from defaming a person and destroying their reputation, to influencing public opinion or causing social alarm,” Monge warned.

The “Fake News” is also an easy tool for cybercriminals who impersonate identities to commit some type of fraud by making the recipient fall into error, obtain data illegally or commit cyberbullying.

The most typical example is creating a fake profile on social networks with data and photos of another person, to try to communicate with their friends and family by posing as the impersonated person.

Also, cyber attacks are not just for “extortion”; money or disclosing confidential information, in 2018, Cambridge Analytica showed the world how data theft can be used in politics: in this case, to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Other known cases are Wikileaks, which consisted of the leak of more than 250 thousand diplomatic telegrams from US embassies and Sony PlayStation Network, with the theft of names, emails, bank accounts of more than 77 million users.

Tips for Identifying Fake News

  • Do not share the information
  • Develop the habit of distrusting and investigating
  • Read the whole news, not just the headline
  • Search for the holder in Google or the website of the institution in question
  • Find the data that is cited
  • Ask who sent the news of who received it
  • Do not click on every link that comes to us
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