“Actress Betty White, 92, Dyes Peacefully In Her Los Angeles Home”
This was an actual headline that came across mine and my friend’s newsfeed a few years ago. I remember the world flipping out because Betty White was dead. Now read that title again. D-Y-E-S, not D-I-E-S. SHE DIED HER HAIR AT HOME and is still very much alive! This is a single example of fake news.
But fake news is a very broad term and the broadness on this term is problematic. “Fake News” can appear in many different ways and understand what it is we must first understand different influencing factors.
- The different types of content that are being created and shared
- The motivation for those who create this content
- The reason that this content is being spread
Fake News is a dangerous cycle where one person creates, hundreds share, thousands read, but all have access. “we are at war. An information war”?
We become vulnerable to what is posted online at a young age, and as the popularity and accessibility of online information increase, we need to also increase our media awareness. We need to teach people of all ages to look at their resources critically, not to question everything that comes there way, but to be mindful. In the comic done by The Oatmeal they explain Fake News in a way that is friendly for all ages, not only to understand but to relate to as well. It relates commonly known “facts” to truth and how our perception can be altered by our own core beliefs. Whereas in another article “It’s Easier To Call A Fact A Fact When It’s One You Like” the title really summaries it all. In the end, we believe what we want to believe and look more critically at things that put us in a negative light or don’t agree with our beliefs.
Presently there is a strong Black Lives Matter movement happening globally. This movement was started in the states after the murder of George Floyd, and Canadian citizens have been eager to points fingers. But a couple weeks ago this photo arose it was a meme. In the first scene, it was a person (a Canadian) saying that America should be ashamed of themselves, for their racism and lack of human rights,, then in the next box it is the Canadian person shooting an innocent Indigenous person. It is easy to point fingers, but it’s hard to reflect. When we point one finger at someone there are three pointing back at ourselves.
So What Can We Do?
- Double Check Facts Before Sharing
- Teach people to second guess their instant reactions to a posting
- “In the same way that you’re told to wait 20 minutes before you reach for a second helping of food, because you need to wait for your brain to catch up with your stomach, the same is true with information. Maybe you don’t need to wait 20 minutes before clicking the share button, but two minutes is probably sensible”