Many organisations, research centres and private enterprises, nationally and globally, track the spread of fake narratives across social media and the web. On their websites, you can find reports of the recent trends of news stories from politics to health to celebrities. These institutions use technology and analytics to predict the stories that are likely to become fake news while experts analyse how these can result in people engaging in dangerous real-world behaviours.
An example of the Irish-based company is NewsWhip, with NewsWhip Research Center that includes a multidisciplinary team of academics, data scientists, researchers and outside partners, who provide insightful interpretation of the vast social data that surrounds us, demystifying the spread of news and information on social media.
In 2019, the UK Government Communication Service, published RESIST Counter-disinformation Toolkit, 72-pages document addressed to “public sector communications professionals, as well as policy officers, senior managers and special advisers” to enable them develop a response when disinformation affects “[their] organisation’s ability to do its job, the people who depend on your services, or represents a threat to the general public”. Pages 47-50 contain a glossary related to disinformation techniques, including fake news, echo chambers, filter bubble and deep fake discussed in the podcast Reflections.
Professional news media use fact checking tool to assess claims made across various media and whether you can trust them. #FACTCHECK the latest claims at thejournal.ie
(…) more danger comes not from easily disproved claims that provoke complete disbelief but the ones that could have a grain of truth (Ciara O’Brian, The Irish Times, March 11, 2021).
European Parliament, Amnesty International and journalists use external companies, like Truly Media, developed in very close collaboration with journalists and human rights investigators, to help them verify digital content for accuracy. Check the European Commission’s strategy for “tackling the spread of online disinformation and misinformation to ensure the protection of European values and democratic systems” here.
Take Action and Get Involved
Continuous education is the strongest weapon against disinformation!
A number of NGOs, charities and grass root initiatives operate on volunteer-basis allowing you to get involved in countering disinformation. Many groups and organisations ask the public to share or report suspicious stories and news. In July 2020, UN enlisted 10,000 digital volunteers to fight COVID-19 disinformation.
UNICEF – “Join the fight against misinformation” https://www.unicef.org/nepal/join-fight-against-misinformation
NUI Galway – “Ireland to lead global initiative to tackle ‘fake news’ on migration” https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/ireland-to-lead-global-initiative-to-tackle-fake-news-on-migration-1.4547287
Social media – “Climate change: Simple guidelines can slow the spread of fake news on Facebook” based on Lauren Lutze’s study on the importance of critical thinking https://news.umich.edu/climate-change-simple-guidelines-can-slow-the-spread-of-fake-news-on-facebook/