Learning Write-ups

False news spreading on social media – Investigating fake news

Social media is a source of connecting with other people. But some people think it’s a news source. The fact will not be unknown to my readers that most news shared on social media turn out to be fake. I don’t mean every news is fake. But when a news is shared without any authentic source, it’s mostly fake. But the question is how to differentiate between a true news and a fake news. Majority of my viewers maybe know about it. But sometimes, the news is designed in such a tricky manner that it looks real. Let’s discuss how false news spread over social media. And how can we go in depth of the news to check its true or false?

How False news is spread:

A false news can be any type of news that misleads people. I will discuss the 3 most common examples of false news.

False Announcements:

Most of the time, it’s done by sharing such announcements that never existed. For example A news about govt policy, or any action by a political party. The news can be about relationships between two countries also. Not only this but also about a community or religion.

To know the reality of such news, you need to search news sources. Simply ask the person to provide you the news source. If you want your own research. Google is always the best option. Just put the news as a keyword in Google search and start looking for multiple sources. Remember that never believe a single source. Search multiple sources and then analyze all the news sources. You’ll find out the reality.

Edited Pictures:

This is a very dangerous way to misguide people. Because apparently, people believe what they see. This type of false news can prove more dangerous than false announcements. To verify such news and check whether it’s fake or real, you can do these steps.

For example here is a picture that has a news I saw on Facebook.

False news screenshot
False news screenshot

The news says “Afghan security forces hunt down a Pakistani Fighter Jet.” So I was amazed that how is this possible? I didn’t hear any news about it. So I did a little research. Lemme demonstrate how to find the reality behind such news.

First I searched the news keyword in Google. Checking every possible source, I found nothing in particular. Now it was clear the news is fake. But what about the picture? So I searched the image in Google image search. And found this:

Real incident picture
Real incident picture

I got this result from a Wikipedia source. So here a to step investigation was involved. In the first step, I cross-checked the news. And the news turned fake. But for further satisfaction, I also cross-examined the picture. To do so, I visited the Google image search. If you feel lazy, then it’s reverse.google service where you can search any image and related images in Google. So if you doubt any edited image. You can check it there. You must find the real source.

Fake Screenshots:

Most lethal way to spread false news. A screenshot is never doubted to be false. One mostly believes the screenshots. But it’s not at all a big deal to make a fake conversation or edit a screenshot. You just need to edit the text content in HTML of a webpage to edit its content. Or you can directly edit the screenshot by picture editing skills. It is not easy to determine a screenshot is fake or real.

To check a fake screenshot, first, you need to know from where the screenshot was captured. If it’s a post screenshot. Then it’s not a big deal. Just go and check whether a post exists or not. But if it’s a chat screenshot. The first thing you need to do is, check the typing nature of both people the sender and the receiver. If typing nature and word selection do not differ, then there are higher chances that conversation is fake. To verify more, you can chat with the person who’s being blamed and observe his nature and style.

So That’s it. Hope you like it. Soon I’ll bring how to investigate a person on social media.