I don t trust my Facebook friends. In this way I defend myself against fake news during a pandemic

During the coronavirus pandemic, we have more time to scroll through Facebook and other social media. We are also more susceptible to false information than usual.

I have people among my friends who, from early morning until late night, provide - in their opinion - important information about the epidemic. They are interwoven with little funny memes.

The mechanism is usually similar: the sharer knows or associates the person who previously published the post, and for the first time sees the user who is the "source" of false information. Trusting a friend, he acknowledges that he would not share fake news. On the next level, the next person knows someone who shared the information ...

And so on and so forth.

Facebook is facing fake news, but during the coronavirus pandemic the phenomenon intensified.

I see misrepresentations or overinterpretations several times a day. Increasingly, however, completely false information appears in my news.

Take for example fake news about a mural depicting Jarosław Kaczyński holding a balloon resembling a coronavirus.

A mural on one of the tenement houses in Bydgoszcz appeared during the night. The intersection of Piękna and Jaskółcza. Well done Bydgoszcz! - you could read.

Meanwhile, the mural, of course, was created, but on the computer of a person who knows how to use graphic software.

Before the message was marked as false by Facebook, crowds of people saw it.

Those who pasted in the comment link to the article unmasking fake news, very often did not even notice that they provide false information. They were too busy spreading further content.

Even people professionally involved in the media provide false information.

Among my friends, I have a person who has not only been involved with the media for decades, but has managed internet projects. I appreciate the fact that every day he tries to fight fake news, pointing to misinformation on the profiles of friends. Unfortunately, I also saw fake news on her profile several times.

I write about it without personal details and not to point out anybody's fingers. This example shows how an insidious enemy we are dealing, since even professionals fall into the trap of disinformation.

We are not infallible, so be careful.

Everyone can get a mistake. Especially in this difficult time and reality in which laws and regulations are sometimes unclear. An example would be some over-interpretation of the mouth and face covering regulation, which came into force on April 16. It was a common mistake to identify him with the order to wear masks. Such errors appear and will continue to appear, and the government does not facilitate the task of journalists, sometimes providing conflicting information. For example, the answer to the question about running, published on the website of the Ministry of Health, has changed several times.

However, something else is an error, and something else is fake news, i.e. information that was created to deliberately mislead recipients. We are most exposed to this type of misinformation.

My method of fighting fake news is simple, but it requires self-discipline: I avoid sharing content from sources I don't know. I'm not giving in to the illusion of having previously been shared by someone I know.

In this difficult time I have a problem with verifying the accuracy of information myself, although I have been working in the industry well over a decade. The more I try to be careful. I recommend this method.

I don't trust my Facebook friends. In this way I defend myself against fake news during a pandemic


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