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Following a government crackdown and a slew of self-regulatory actions taken by social media platforms like WhatsApp and Twitter, the threat of fake news shows no sign of diminishing. Fake news dissemination has hit a new peak in 2019 with every major event, from general elections and Pulwama attacks to the scrapping of Article 370 and continuing demonstrations against the Citizenship Amendment Act, causing widespread distribution of disinformation through social media platforms

Through some of the world's cheapest data rates, India's internet users download content extensively. In 2018, people in India spent nearly 47 billion hours on the top five streaming apps in the world, according to a recent report by App Annie. Sadly, YouTube, India's biggest streaming video service, is not safe from people spreading misinformation–and the weak content management practices of the organization have not improved, according to CNBC.The report noted that many of the country's YouTube subscribers are internet users for the first time and come from poor levels in literacy. As such, they are unable to differentiate between fake news and real content.

Below are few steps to identify fake news/photos/videos

Step One: Looking Deep
  • You have strong emotional reaction
  • A story/news/video that confirms your belief
  • You are going to spend money on it
  • You want the amplify the story
Step Two: Check out the link

Once you've agreed to take a closer look at an online story, it's time to figure out where it comes from and when. Internet news can work like a telephone game: there's a possibility that important details are missed every time someone reposts or rewrites it

  • Check the social media account is verified or not
  • Look for specific names and keywords
  • Find survey and infographic sources
  • Search for stated quotes
  • Identify photos and videos through search
  • How time-sensitive the story is
Step Three: Find the context

The goal here is to find gaps in a narrative, or contradictions between the representations of a story and its actual source material. These may be genuine errors — such as accounts that post sarcastic news without knowing it. Or maybe they're a calculated attempt to fool people.

  • Is it satire?
  • Who’s providing the information?
  • What’s the scale of the story?
  • If there’s an “outrage,” are people upset?
  • How do different news outlets present the story?
Step Four: Weigh the Evidence

The goal here is not to decide why the story is wrong. It's about understanding how the story works — what aspects are confusing and ambiguous, what parts are likely to be accurate, and how much your attitudes or actions will change.

  • Are important facts getting left out or distorted?
  • What’s the larger narrative?
  • What happens if you’re wrong?
  • Why share this story?
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