Public advised to use tools on the internet to detect fake news

TO develop media literacy in the age of fabricated information, an international media practitioner encouraged the public to use tools available on the internet to distinguish between real and verified news and fake news.

Iain Martin, editor of the Asian Bureau of Ireland-based news agency Storyful, spoke before communication students at the forum on “Tools to Ferret Out Hoaxes and Misinformation” held yesterday at the Marcelo B. Fernan Press Center.

Martin said it is important for media practitioners to be equipped with tools and skills that will help them spot and filter fake information from authentic ones. This way, journalists and their colleagues in the media will not only be able to maintain their credibility, but can also expose fake news.

To prevent misinformation, Martin said it is important to learn the basic rules of news writing, understand the context of the story being reported and determine the authenticity of the source, may it be a person, photo, video, or audio recording.

“A manipulative video has inconsistency, so many editing mistakes and you can examine it frame-by-frame. In spotting the obvious fake, more often than not, it’s too good to be true,” he said.

Among the tools available online are Tweetdeck, Facebook Signal, Crowdtangle, Facebook LiveMap, Snapchat Map, Picodash, NewsWhip, BuzzSumo, Google suits, Slack and Meedan Checkdesk. Other verifying tools available online are Google Maps or Earth, Bing Maps, Wikimapia, Amnesty YouTube Dataviewer, TinEye and Jeffrey’s Metadata Viewer.

Martin said these tools can be used to discover, track, map, collaborate and debunk information published online.

One of the reactors in the forum, lawyer Jane Paredes, public affairs head of Smart Communications Visayas-Mindanao, said the responsibility to weed out hoaxes from verified information lies not only in the hands of media practitioners.

“What is needed is action not only from the media, but the audience as well. Technology companies like us only provide the highway, but we don’t have control over the content that goes through that’s why we need everyone’s collaborative effort,” she said.

Another reactor, Isolde Amante, editor-in-chief of SunStar Cebu, said that instead of silencing people, media practitioners should reach out to the public to make debate “more civil” again.

“People have every right to be wrong. Freedom of expression is among our core values, so we should uphold that and not suppress it,” she said.

Nini Cabaero, SunStar Network Exchange editor-in-chief, advised professors to bring their interns to rural barangays to help educate the residents on the importance of verified news.

The forum, one of the activities of the Cebu Press Freedom Week celebration, was made possible with the help of SunStar Cebu, Superbalita Cebu, Smart Communications, Air Asia and White Gold Club.

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