Reduce fake news by being mindful

By Ali Qazi

With the number of articles shared on Facebook and Twitter, it’s hard to decipher what’s factual and what’s opinion. Since there aren’t any government entities to prevent the spread of false information on social media or through text messages, it is our responsibility to help reduce that spread as best as possible.

Psychology professor Anne Britt led an analysis in March called “A Reasoned Approach to Dealing with Fake News.” This analysis in explains the common problems with receiving bad information and how we can make sure such information doesn’t get forwarded.

“We are more willing to accept information and judge the quality of arguments more positively when they are consistent with our beliefs as compared with information that opposes our beliefs,” according to the analysis.

While this may be challenging to accept, it’s important to remember most of the information we tends to read is digested while relaxing, and this is when fact checking is crucial. According to Britt’s past research, people are more likely to accept belief consistent information rather than check to see if the information is true.

“I don’t think you can prevent people from saying what they are going to say, but you have to help people understand how this information can harm them in making their own personal and or professional decisions,” Britt said. “They have to do some work to make sure what they are relying on is accurate.”

It is crucial to verify information; just because information may seem true doesn’t always mean it is. It’s always recommended to check sources on stories or even homework to make sure that things add up.

“You have to always double check your sources,” Ibrahim Ziden, junior rehabilitation and disability services major, said. “Google the information, and confirm with at least three verified sources to the information is true.”

When you check information with at least three sources, it helps prevent sharing false information and puts a stop to fake news. If individuals start to research the source before reading the article or information, the reader will be more informed on the credibility of the author and can decide if the information is reliable.

Though we don’t have a regulatory agency like the FDA to tell us what is factual before sharing, we do have sites with researched information to help back up claims, like