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How to counter fake news?

In 2020, JET Education Services mounted a series of research bootcamps which grew from a few themes in South Africa to a presence in Southern Africa and later on also across 55 Commonwealth countries. One of the research themes was 'Fake news'. See some of the useful resource outputs.

In the South African context, fake news has seen many stories being shared without being fact-checked, and those who normally do the fact-checking do so after the fact. This is how fake news gains credence in the life of society. It is an easy assumption that the problem of fake news can be seen as a binary between real and fake news; however, the problem is much deeper than that as fake can be seen as real and real as fake. 

Meyer, writing for the Atlantic, contends that “Fake news and false rumours reach more people, penetrate deeper into the social network, and spread much faster than accurate stories”. This could be attributed to what has been described above as the ability of fake news to elicit strong emotions amongst its recipients. The real problem facing us is that many people lack skills that are needed in order to assess and evaluate information that comes from different sources of information. This lack of knowledge on how to assess the credibility of information has led to human beings being led by digital platforms and reduced to sharing information that has not been fact-checked, leading to the spread of fake news in some cases, mostly during times when people are awaiting credible updates.

The South African #ResearchersBootcamp and the SADC #ResearchersChallenge fake news researches aimed to be a source of information in the region by promoting and detailing methods of identifying fake information, and to promote awareness and knowledge of the resources available that gather and #FactCheck information during the COVID-19 epidemic.

 

Download the research report for theme 6

View the infographic for theme 6

 

  Download SADC Theme 6 Final report: Impact of fake news
Download SADC Theme 6 Final Infographic: Impact of fake news  View the tool to help contain the spread of COVID-19 fake news  
 
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