What can you do to avoid Fake News?
The first, and simplest, rule of thumb is to trust yoru instincts. If it feels like Fake News, it probably is Fake News. You have all read enough newspapers, heard enough radio news, seen enough television news coverage and have enough general knowledge to be able to determine if something sounds or looks reasonable and realistic.
Let's take an example – a text message. If you receive a text message (SMS), there are a few things you can ask yourself. First of all, do you know the source / sender or the message? Is it a reliable source? Second, look at the wording of the message. It is phrased to share information? Or is the wording such that it elicits a strong emotional response?
In many cases, Fake News items are hidden among a list of true news items. Someone sends out two or three articles that are fully factual, and then one fake item. The goal is to make themselves appear honest and reliable, so that the reader doesn’t notice that something in the list is false. But you, the educated and intelligent reader, are paying attention. You ask yourself if others are receiving this message as well. Is it a general news item, or is it a story which is being shared with a limited number of specific readers? Has the number of unverified or anonymous items been growing in recent weeks? If so, you can stop the flood. You can choose to cut their lifeline, by simply not sharing the Fake News items with others.
If you receive an anonymous piece of "news," don’t; spread the word. It's more than likely that it is Fake News, and spreading it might help Israel's enemies.
Fake News distributors love Social Media. What can you do?
Social Media is easy prey for Fake News distributors to exploit, so it is extremely important to be cautious when consuming news and information via social media platforms. As most information available is correct, how can anyone identify the problematic items? Fake News is often disseminated via "bots" and fake profiles. If you have, recently, received friend requests from unrecognized sources, check the following: When was the profile created? How many friends does this person have? Do you and they have any mutual friends?
Another way to identify Fake News on social media is to ask yourself if the content is unique or if you have encountered it elsewhere. Also, Fake News is often poorly written, with spelling and grammatical errors and a low level of vocabulary and sentence structure. An interesting and useful experiment is to write to the source of the news item – and then check if the response is worded well, or if it feels like a poor, automated translation.
So, how should one consume news on Social Media?
Social Media can be an excellent source of important information, but we must be attentive to the types of information and the sources we are being "fed." Always check if information is coming from a trustworthy and reliable source. The first clue is in the credits. Is the person sharing content which they themselves wrote, or are they sharing existing information which comes from other sources? Have they shared a lot of posts in a short amount of time? Are they a source of many types of information, or are they focused only on the upcoming elections? Does this source only share political postings? Is it all "scoops?" Is this source only involved in elections postings?
Here is what you can do to put a stop to the Fake News flow:
On this page are contact numbers for the Central Elections Committee service centers for all complaints and issues related to the elections and voting. The police hotlines – 100 and 110 – will also be responding to calls regarding computer crimes. You can also contact the National Center for Cyber Incidents and Information Security at 119 to complain about any attempts to manipulate voters through fake profiles and the like.
Most importantly: The Central Elections Committee DOES NOT SEND MESSAGES TO INDIVIDUALS. Any information that is truly from the Central Elections Committee is broadcast to the general public through the media – television, radio and printed press – NEVER through Social Media, text messages, WhatsApp, etc. Any personal messages claiming to be from the Central Elections Committee are patently false!
Together, we can remove the threat of Fake News and maintain a fair, clean and truly democratic election process.