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Fact or Fiction: Tips On How to Identify Fake Reports

The election period is no doubt a period when everything online becomes ‘newswothy’ and many gullible people are fed with fake information. Sometimes, news you consider accurate during electioneering period are downright false.
 
The social media has also been a tool used by people to spread falsehood with ‘catching’ or ‘captivating’ headlines while the online users on their part, accept any information that goes in line with their beliefs without even reading beyond the headlines.
 
Sometimes, sharers of fake stories are simply not ignorant, but their bias shape their conclusion. 
 
It’s two days to the general election and to avoid being victims of fake news, Dubawa presents tips on how to identify fake news.
 
Vet the Publisher and Author
 
Just because the site is popular is not a criterion for the accuracy of its contents! It is expected that before we believe any story, we should verify the news website. Do a review of the website contact information, check their previous reports and be sure that the URL ends in a common domain such as .com, .net, .org, etc.
 
Lack of author attribution signifies that the “news report” may be fake. (Not in all cases, there are investigative stories that do not require the author’s name to avoid victimisation by those they are holding accountable).
 
Readers are required to do a quick research about author(s) of stories and know whether they have a history or background of good journalism.
 
Check the date:
 
Resharing stale news (without indicating that it is a FLASHBACK) amounts to fake news. It is important for readers to make sure that an old report is not taken out of context.
 
Until you are certain that the report is current, don’t read further or send out. Stop the ‘fakery’ at your end. Do not allow it go further.
 
Check quotespictures and sources:
 
Media experts often advise that multiple sources are better than a single source.  If you notice a lack of quote or pictures to back up any news report, then suspect the credibility of the report.
 
Since journalism is about gathering facts, it is expected that sources are quoted and evidences are attached. 
 
You must be convinced that report is fact-based before sharing and do a reverse search of sources and pictures.
 
Consult experts
 
When you doubt a news report, check a quality fact checking site such as dubawa.org and many other good ones to know if an independent verification has been done on the report before. 
 
If not, you can contact them to help you verify what you consider to be suspicious or untrue. 
 
If you follow the above tips, you can be rest assured that you won’t be a victim or propagator of false news.

Adejumo Kabir is a student journalist at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He is a great researcher who loves community journalism and supports all aspects of public enlightenment.He has experience writing well-researched papers for online publications.

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