TODAY, the internet has become the most important source of information on almost any subject imaginable. However, it has also drawbacks as not all information found on the World Wide Web are correct. Some of these are made up to exaggerate a certain event or incident, to build up or destroy a reputation of a certain individual, or just set up to simply troll other people.
With the influence of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, there are misleading information that are being shared. It can cause confusion among netizens.
Here are some notable hoaxes or fake news: Philippines’ news anchor Korina Sanchez was declared persona non-grata by the Japanese Government; selfie being declared as a mental disorder by the American Psychology Association; and no visa needed to travel to Japan, among others.
A lot of edited photos that are shared online are also misleading.
Here are some tips before you consider sharing an information posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Credibility of the source
This is the basic step when it comes to verifying information. If it is a story, check if the story was also published or aired by a reputable sources such as CNN, Associated Press, Channel News Asia, GMA News Online, Sun.Star, or Philippine Star.
But if the report was released by Adobo Chronicles, So What’s News, or The Onion, then the report is a news satire – a form of literature “in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government or society itself.”
When it is comes to breaking news, you need to check the report if it was also shared by credible news sources.
Be careful also on conspiracy theories which can cause confusion and often times questionable.
With the advent of Photoshop, people can easily manipulate photos. If you have a keen eye, you can immediately determine whether a photo is edited or not in just one look. However, not all of us have that talent.
Luckily, there are photo analyzing websites you can visit to check if a photo has been edited or not. I recommend Foto Forensics (fotoforensics.com) and Image Edited? (imageedited.com) for photo analysis.
All you have to do is upload the photo and in less than a minute you can get the results, if that photo is edited or not.
You can also click or drag a photo on Google Image Search at images.google.com to check if the photo has been published before.
The Mt. Apo forest fire incident last happened two weeks ago was a good example. Several photos of the forest fire at Mt. Apo was circulated and shared by netizens not realizing that it was a wrong photo. It revealed that those were photos of Badin Lake Fire (2012) and Pike Forest Fire (2002) in USA and Nagarhole Park forest fire (2012) in India. There were also responsible netizens who informed other netizens that wrong photos were being shared.
When in doubt, don’t share
This tip is very self-explanatory. To avoid embarrassment and causing further confusion just don’t share it if you are not sure if the information, story, or photo is legitimate.
Here are just a few tips for us to be responsible netizens. Let’s prevent confusion and start sharing correct and verified information.
The article was published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 14, 2016. Web Traveller is my weekly column in the newspaper and features anything about and on the internet.