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Fake news can cause shock and embarrassment, and influence behaviour. It’s important to know how to spot fake news and how to avoid being misled into believing fake news. Sasfin is Beyond a Bank, so we strive to provide proactive information to assist our clients in navigating today’s digital world.

Why fake news is created:

  • Shock value

Fake news can cause upset or shock to readers or viewers so the news spreads quickly.

  • Embarrassment

Fake news is often deliberately created out of malice or to support an ideological or political agenda. When shared fake news can lead to embarrassment or ridicule.

  • Influence behaviour

Fake news is designed to manipulate people’s opinions, views and decisions, persuading people to believe something that simply isn’t true.

Become a fake news detective

Here’s what to look out for to spot fake news:

Consider the source

Fake news stories are often too ridiculous to believe. Make sure that the website that published the story is a credible source and does not have an odd domain name. 

Verify the images and facts

Authentic news is usually supported by official data or surveys and previous, similar instances of the occurrence being reported. Fake news isn’t and often includes manipulated photos.

Check the date and funding

Make sure that the data is current and it is not an old story merely reworked. Also, check to see if the article is funded and if so by whom. This is a quick way to detect if it’s propaganda.

Be cautious of comments

Even if the article, video or post is valid, be careful of comments posted in response. Often links or comments are auto-generated by bots or by people paid to release false information.

Make a difference

Fake news relies on believers to repost, retweet, and forward false information. If you’re uncertain as to the authenticity of an article, think before you share. And if you suspect the news is fake, report it. Google and many social media platforms have feedback message systems or ‘Report Post’ buttons. Always question the motivation behind a story and question whether it makes you form a specific opinion or influences your actions.

About the Author

Del van Rooyen
Chief Information Security Officer, Sasfin Holdings Limited