Facebook shares guide to verifying COVID-19 posts
MANILA, Philippines — Social media giant Facebook released on Sunday some simple steps on how to verify information related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on social media.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to escalate around the world, it’s more important than ever for people to be mindful of what they share online. Unverified or false information creates confusion, and in the worst case can sow unnecessary fear and panic,” Facebook said in an advisory.
Here are five simple steps on how to check information in your feed:
Step 1: Inspect the post
Facebook noted how posts aiming to misinform people tend to have sensational headlines and use other ways to catch attention such as using all caps or exclamation points.
“Overly dramatic headlines or those with shocking claims that seem too good to be true are likely just that — too good to be true,” Facebook said.
The name of the website as well as the URL should also be inspected.
“Dubious URLs or website names often try to imitate those of authentic news site with tiny changes like a capital ‘I’ for a lowercase ‘I’ or zero ‘0’ for an ‘o’.”
“If you are not sure, open a new browser window and go to the actual site, then compare the real URL with the other one to decide if it’s credible,” read the advisory.
Step 2: Investigate the site
If you clicked the link, inspect the article page. Facebook said the author’s name should be checked if he or she is a credible news source.
Inconsistencies with posting dates or timelines of the story, “weird or clumsy” formatting, awkward layouts, and misspellings, are also signs of sites that show only disinformation.
“Be skeptical of photos or videos that look manipulated, too,” the advisory read.
Step 3: Take note of people quoted in the story
Articles that cite experts left nameless, for example, “a top expert says,” may also be an indication of a false news story. Other sources that the writer referred to should also be cracked if accurate.
Step 4: Compare with other headlines or stories
Facebook said a quick look if other websites are reporting the story is also a way to verify articles.
“It’s more likely for the story to be true if multiple credible sources are also reporting it.”
Step 5: Get official information only from global and local health authorities
These include the Department of Health and the World Health Organization, said Facebook, which also encourages its users to report disinformation being spread on the platform.
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