When I was younger when there was no Internet, I looked out for fake news in the Straits Times on April First – April Fools’ Day. That was the only one time that respectable newspaper tried to fool readers with one piece of fake news, out of fun in keeping with age-old tradition.
Now with the prevalent social media, messaging platforms and on-line news media, you cannot tell whether the news you read or see were fake. The social media facilitates propagation of fake news with a click of a mouse or a finger touch.
One time, we were told that Stephanie Sun had “died”. What an unkind thing to spread the news on social media by re-posting that piece of fake news. The on-line world did not stop to question whether it was true before the people hit the send button.
If netizen could play that kind of joke, I become wary with every piece of news that comes on to the Net. Like the story about the boy who cried wolf, when truth be told I would not believe it without skepticism. The real news got lost as a result.
I have a Facebook account and am in several Whatsapp chatgroups. I find more people are re-posting news (fake or otherwise) on these platforms. They also posted videos that I may not have interest in. I have reached a stage where I simply delete the chatgroup messages without opening them. I got impatient scrolling down Facebook posts because many of them were re-posting of someone else’s creations.
How to handle fake news?
I read news from reputable sources. I still go for newsprint for daily news and on-line sources that I can trust. These sources have a reputation to keep.
I avoid sponsored sites where news-maker has personal motive of putting out the posts.
I go for original contents created by the person. This thing of re-posting what is not yours does not excite me. I can understand why my contacts like to re-post interesting snippets or videos. They like to share. But imagine more of same things (same contents) posted by many friends can be counter-productive. It gets boring.
I avoid political sites and lobby sites. I am not into politics in a serious way. Sometimes, opinions of these commentators can get you down.
Copyright © 2018, Lim Kim Tong for Living Investment