The proliferation of fake news articles that during the recent US election is a worrying trend, as we saw how deliberate misinformation may have actually influenced US voters.
If you have been following the media coverage in the lead up to last year’s US Presidential Election, you might have noticed the varying degree of analytical coverage and political bias adopted by the various media agencies. This chart broadly summarizes the landscape:
This is why it is important to always evaluate your sources. Even in the local context, being aware of the broad socio-political inclinations and agendas of the various media you read should inform your consumption of the information presented, so that you don’t become a reader subject to confirmation bias.
In this era where article ‘shares’ are determined more by computer algorithms rather than discerning human curators, the proliferation of fake news becomes terrifyingly evident. People are simply sharing what is sensational, reading ‘news’ only to confirm their own opinions.
What caught my eye was the first comment on the first article posted above:
“That’s the symptom, not the disease. We need a populace who can and want to be able to tell the difference between a reputable news source and a social media site.”
Therefore, it would be more productive for us to be more cautious as readers and checking the credibly and validity of our sources before we share them. So, the next time you come across some site accusing our ministers of seditious comments, do check your source.
Here is an interesting infographic for spotting bad science from science educational site Compound Interest.
In this age of social media where we are at liberty to share content freely, it becomes even more important to verify your sources.
This report highlights an example of how many of alternative’ local media sites latched onto a supposed sighting of a PAP flyer being distributed in Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) when in actual it was a free campus magazine. Sharing such misinformation freely without first verifying not only threatens your own credibility, but the act spreads a lie that very unfortunately damages the reputation of others.