A report by Ofcom (a UK communication regulator) revealed that teenagers rely on three social media apps for information – TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. These platforms are steadily becoming news sources for many, even for users aged between 16 and 44. However, only a third of people on these social media apps trust the information they read on these platforms. Besides, often these services are laden with “fake news” that some users might unknowingly come to believe. So, it becomes imperative that people avoid such misinformation.
Tricks to avoid misinformation on social media apps
The easiest way to identify fake news is by looking at the source of the reported information. And here’s where they can take advantage of reading news online. It’s easy to discover the original source of information in online news. The reason is that a hyperlink in the article usually leads to the source. So, readers can always open that link to verify the legitimacy of that news. A social media insurance is also a good idea to save yourself from the effect of it.
Thus, if some news in any social media app does not cite any sources, that is usually a red flag for fake news. In addition, if the article cites sources, readers need to question the “who or what” of those citations. The reason is that many times the sources may not be that reliable. Case in point, Ofcom is a pretty reliable source of information. So, if users find that the source has a short track record and a history of supplying fake news, they can avoid reading from that site in the future.
Furthermore, readers need to understand the context of the information they read. For instance, if they are reading news about a study, they need to determine who funded it and if any outside influences impacted its results. Therefore, it will become easy for them to determine that study’s legitimacy.
So, through these tricks, users can stay safe from misinformation on social media apps. In addition, it might even help them discover sources they can trust for reliable news.