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Fight fake news!

(9 Posts)
Elegran Wed 12-Jun-19 11:12:38

A lie travels round the world while the truth is still getting its boots on. However, we are not helpless in the face of those who would like to hoodwink us. Here are five links.

Some simple steps you can take to weed out the nonsense and focus on the facts.

. . . and some more things you can do

How Finland fights the fake news trolls

Fighting fake news in Nigeria

How you can spot a fake video

CyclingKnitter Wed 12-Jun-19 11:14:45

Thanks Elegran

Elegran Wed 12-Jun-19 11:27:18

Russia is flooding Finland with fake news, but they are holding a campaign to get the public to recognise deliberate misinformation. Pity our goernment doesn't copy them.

suziewoozie Wed 12-Jun-19 11:39:56

Thanks Elegran - I’ve just looked at the first one. Very sensible advice. Generally the more outrageous a ‘fact’ is the more we should check it our before expressing our outrage.

varian Wed 12-Jun-19 12:03:24

Finnish education is amongst the best in the world and so readers of fake news are more able to question it.

In the UK our own media, particularly the tabloid press, have been printing fake for decades. Lord Beaverbrook apparently stated in the 1930s that The Express, which he owned, was not a newspaper but propaganda, and arguably it has never changed.

The poorly educated readers of our right-wing tabloids may be more gullible, more susceptible to online clickbait in the form of stories about celebs and sex scandals and less likely to question the validity of sensational "news stories", especially those which reinforce their prejudices.

Elegran Wed 12-Jun-19 12:05:18

Finland sounds like the most sane country in the world to live in.

suziewoozie Wed 12-Jun-19 12:08:34

If only their language were easier to learn - but then they all speak English don’t they?

Elegran Wed 12-Jun-19 12:43:23

Internet sites for checking dodgy "facts". Copied word for word from "The list is not intended to be comprehensive but is a good reference point for what you will see on a regular basis." Some of the sites have vanished.

1: Snopes

Who hasn't heard of Snopes? This is the granddaddy of all fact-checking sites. Some of the worst chain spams even quote Snopes with an embedded link to give their email an added level of authenticity. Of course, Snopes has been known to be wrong and has changed its listings on several occasions. It has also become commercialized over the years, but it's still a very complete site.

2: About Urban Legends [I can't find this site, it must have folded]

This subsite has been hosted for 10 years by David Emery, and he has done a great job. He is passionate about finding and debunking all those rumors, myths, pranks, and odd stories. I have found lately that I am referring more people to his site than Snopes because I like the format better. The site also shows up in more Google searches than the others, indicating that the content is well linked and used.

3: Break The Chain {Can't find this either]

In 1999, John Ratliff was annoyed that he kept receiving the same chain spams forwarded to him over and over. I have been just as annoyed for just as long, but he did something about it. Like most of these sites, John has plenty of healthy advertisements but no pop-ups. His site is getting more professional looking all the time. He is also frequently cited by the media when looking for an authoritative source on these stupid chain mails.


This excellent site, founded by Rich Buhler in 1999, offers information on "eRumors," hoaxes, requests for help, and other items circulated via email. You can search for a story, browse through categories such as Food-Drink, Warnings, and eRumors in the News, view the top 20 stories of the hour, and subscribe to its email alerts (for a very modest price).

5: Sophos {This site doesn't seem to have the list any more]

This antivirus company keeps a small list of hoaxes and urban legends, but it is not nearly as complete as the sites at the top of this list. Their focus is more on virus hoaxes — you know, the ones that scream that you will wipe your hard drive and melt the motherboard if you open the suspect email.

6: Hoax-Slayer {]

Brett Christensen's Hoax-Slayer morphed from a Yahoo group to a Web site in 2003. You can search the site, browse by category, subscribe to a newsletter for the latest info, or get a quick roundup of the latest hoaxes and scams by visiting the Hoax-Slayer Nutshell page. The site is thorough and up to date. One particularly interesting feature is its True Emails page, which lists circulating emails that actually are legit (albeit misleading in some cases) despite their hoax-y appearance.

7: VMyths [ I think this one is out-of-date and archived, but the hoaxes it describes may still be going the rounds.]

Well referenced by specialists in the computer security field, VMyths takes Internet hoaxes and chain letters to a new level. If you want to read what the real experts have to say about Internet hoaxes, virus scares, myths, and legends, get it from Rob Rosenberger at VMyths. Unfortunately, its lists are not comprehensive.

8. Symantec [ a series of blogs about various security problems

I [the author, not me!] have a love-hate affair with Symantec. I use its products, but I've been burned by them several times lately. That's a story for another post. Its hoax list is pretty good but seems a little dated. Maybe that's because most hoaxes today are really recycled from earlier hoaxes.

9:Hoax Busters [Can't find this either]

Not to be confused with the U.S. Department of Energy's now-defunct, Hoax Busters offers The BIG LIST of Internet Hoaxes — an alphabetized list of urban legends, scams, chain letters, and hoaxes. This is handy if you just want to quickly look up an item to see if it's on the list (although you have to figure out the most likely keyword for an item to find its listing). Items that require a little explanation are presented as clickable links, which open a window with additional info.

10: Virus Busters [can't find it]

This is a short list from the University of Michigan of hoaxes and legends that keep coming back. Like the UofM, I have not seen many new hoaxes lately — they are almost all repackaged oldies.

suziewoozie Wed 12-Jun-19 12:47:58

Thanks again for doing this