How to Protect Yourself Against Fake News

We are bombarded with information all the times. Advertisements for products and services, articles on social media, and conversations with friends and colleagues. Depending on its source, we often trust this information because it can be time consuming to check how accurate the information or any claims made are.

There have been many political scandals in recent years relating to misleading campaigns and facts that have been taken out of context or ‘edited’ in some way. In short, people are regularly exposed to fake news and scams in general.

How do we deal with this?

The first technique is to err on the side of caution, and do not believe anything until you have the time to check specific sources that can back up any claims. If there is no evidence beyond one person’s opinion, we are well advised to regard it is unreliable. If there is a scientific study which purports to support a claim or comment, be sure to check the original study and see if the ‘fact’ has been altered in some way, or used for a context that is different from the original study.

The second technique is to show emotional restraint. There are many times that we want something to be true, and if we are told that it is true then we are more likely to believe it. But we have to think objectively and remember that the truth or falsity of a statement is entirely independent of our desire for it to be true or false.