I had to chuckle when, a week ago, Facebook invited me to “check out a few ways to identify whether a (news) story is genuine.”
Thanks, Zuckerberg & Co., but I think I’ve got this.
Unfortunately, though, too few people do get it, and so the site has decided to take steps to combat the proliferation of bogus reports being unwittingly shared by its users. Whether the network wants to admit it or not, it’s a vehicle for many people to get their news, even, ahem, people who write the news, like me.
The difference comes when one trusts what’s posted as fact, without a thought to who’s posting it, where it came from and what the context is. Here are the 10 tips Facebook offers:
“Be skeptical of headlines.” “Investigate the source.” “Look closely at the URL.” “Watch for unusual formatting,” i.e., misspellings and bad layouts. “Consider the photos.” “Inspect the dates.” “Check the evidence.” “Look at other reports.” Ask “Is the story a joke?”
The last one, though, really cuts to the heart of it, that some stories are intentionally false and users should “think critically about the stories you read, and only share news that you know to be credible.”
Imagine that: Facebook, born in 2004, is channeling the nuns who taught me how to read – not just how to process words on a page, but how to actually read – back in the 1970s and ’80s.
A lot of these tips are Journalism 101, about checking the source of the information you receive,…
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