You’re probably checking the news every day, keeping track of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
But in times uncertainty, irresponsible individuals tend to take advantage of the situation to spread fake and inaccurate news.
We can’t put a stop to all of them, but companies are taking the initiative to silence these people.
One such example is Google. The search engine company has shared six tips on how you can verify if a particular piece of information is true.
Always cross-check with other reputable media outlets.
If you come across a particular piece of news and for some reason, it doesn’t feel right, you can head over to Google News and check whether a reputable media organization has reported on the news you’re reading.
If you can’t find it on Google News, chances are it’s fake.
Reverse search for an image to check its legitimacy.
Google has a feature embedded in Chrome and Microsoft Edge, where it allows you to right-click an image and select ‘Search Google for Image’.
This option will perform a reverse image search, allowing you to check if the image has been tampered with or used in the wrong context.
Someone might be using an image to tell a different story. It could be inaccurate and used to reinforce fake news.
Check if a YouTube channel is reporting fake news.
Sometimes when you’re watching a YouTube video, the delivery of a p
articular piece of information might seem a little off.
Similar to Twitter, YouTube also has a verified account badge given to accounts that YouTube has personally investigated. You could also check the channel’s description, size of their channel, and links to their social media sites.
It will give you a starting ground to check if these channels are legit, but it will not be as good as your own judgement.
Steps to ensure you’re not visiting a phishing site.
Some phishing sites might have a similar name to reputable sites, injecting a false sense of assurance. The best way to check is by looking at the site’s web address. It could be as simple as having a name like mashablesea.com rather than sea.mashable.com (the latter is the correct address in case you’re wondering).
If you want to be extra careful, you can do a quick Google search of the news outlet, and the first result that appears should give you the correct address of the website.
Using Google’s Fact Check Explorer for misreported news.
Fact Check Explorer is a powerful tool that Google developed to check if a news outlet has been misreporting a particular piece of news.
You can try it out by searching keywords from a news article or personality you’re investigating. The tool will then tell you if the news is false, half-true, or completely accurate based on investigations done by other fact-checking sites.
Doing your due diligence in spotting fake news.
If all else fails, there is always the old-school method of scrutinizing every bit of information. If you feel like there is something off with the news source. You could always take that bit of information and do a Google search.
The search will show you if other reputable sites are reporting the same thing. It could also show you a link that goes to a fact-checking website telling you if that bit of information is true or false.
We live during times where we have to stay vigilant both in stopping the spread of the coronavirus and fake news. If you have no confidence in what you’re reading on the internet, maybe you shouldn’t share it at all.