7. Is it true or is the newsa face?

2020/11/12 Elhuyar Zientzia



In recent years social networks have changed a lot the way we consume information and information constantly bombards us through different formats and media; Having a lot of information should be positive and beneficial, but what happens when most of the information we receive is not true? A group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found this reality. Based on research, they concluded that fake news on Twitter, the news faces, are much more than real news. In addition, they saw that the lies spread much more, that is, they are shared more; a bird that tells a false story of Twitter, a face news, has a probability of resurrection of 70% more than a real chio, that is, of spreading to other users of the social network.

In the same vein, in an article published in the journal Nature Physics, it was concluded that news face diffuses as a biological virus but faster and extends to more people. The authors of the article explain that the information is disseminated faster than ever, both by "good" information and by false news known as face news.

Faced with this situation, on Facebook, the owner of the social network Instagram and the application WhatsApp, began to take measures on these platforms to reduce the dissemination of faces news, limiting the forwarding of viral content. Google and Twitter have also announced similar measures not to disseminate false information on their platforms.

But social networks like Facebook, WhatssApp or Twitter are not responsible for the deployment of news faces. Interpersonal relationships also spread the news faces, for example, through gossip that is mentioned when we talk to friends. We are therefore responsible for the actual information and the dissemination of false information. Therefore, it is our responsibility to avoid the spread of news faces, being critical and analytical with the information that comes to us, the one we find and the one we share, and in our hands is stopping the progress of one of those fake news.

But how do real news differ from news faces? In the following lines we present the advice of Pilar Rodríguez Franco, head of communication and scientific disseminator of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology. These tips can help you read the news “with critical thinker glasses” and identify whether the information is real or is a factual newsa:

  • Don't just look at the headline: It is important to analyze the details presented in the article. The more information you have, the easier it will be to determine your credibility.

  • Search information source: Locate and analyze the origin of the information. News about scientific discoveries, health and surprising discoveries, as well as other information, should refer to the source. So, question the information you receive without sources of information.

  • Analyze with skepticism very surprising statements: analyze whether we are facing an assertion based on evidence or, on the contrary, an excessive or false news.

  • Check information: If a striking or alarmist information appears only in one place (a website, a media...), put it in doubt and try to find the same information or other information that refer to it on other websites or media, in order to help confirm the authenticity of the previous one.

  • Do not forward or expand information that you have not critically analyzed: Forwarding information we receive without analyzing the veracity of it can help spread false information. Often, an analysis of the website of the entity that publishes the information or a quick search on the internet to verify the information may reveal that it is a false news.

But, as already mentioned, the news faces are not only broadcast online, but the false information is also disseminated in direct conversations between people. For example, when you've talked to people about covid-19 in recent months, you've probably heard someone say something that seemed true, even if you know it was false. Surely it would refer to mere ignorance, that is, to the dissemination of a face news, although without bad intention.

When we receive false information both through an Internet message and through face-to-face conversation, it is very important to know how to tell the sender of such information, as long as it is a close person, who is wrong. Many times it is not easy, but we have to try to make us see that it is wrong. In the web maldita.es that identifies the news face, after talking with expert psychologists, published the following recommendations to act in this situation:

  • Don't stick to anyone and don't ridicule the person who is wrong and has sent the factual News: have empathy and be clear that at some point you can also believe and spread false information. In this way, the person in front of you will not be defensive and it will be easier to look and reflect on the message you want to convey.

  • Try to understand what has prompted Newsa to spread factual: what she says, how she says it and how she says it. If you are a close person, you may not have been malicious, so it is very important to try to understand your argument before trying to convince you that you are wrong. Sometimes fear, not controlling a situation, or loneliness can lead a person to believe false information.

  • It is not about staying above each other with our explanation, but explaining that it is wrong: we have to show that it is wrong, but with respect, explaining that there are strong and better arguments that oppose your information.

  • It is better to speak positively than negatively: According to experts, it is important to use positive communication, use positive phrases. For example, it is better to say “vaccines are safe” than “vaccines do not cause disease.” Also, when the person who has sent the newsa face makes valuable contributions or corrects some information on another occasion, it is important to reinforce this attitude with our social recognition.

  • Kindly, but always make the correction: when talking to the person who is spreading false information, although the situation is uncomfortable, you have to tell him that he is opening a face news and that it should be redirected to the official information on the subject.

  • Try to convince with simple but solid arguments: We also need to take care of the amount of information we use to show that what you say is not true. It is not about giving a lot of information and data, but rather giving the most appropriate.

  • When and where do we have to talk to a person who sends us a face news? Communication is better when it is face-to-face, but it is not always possible. In any case, it is preferable to maintain communication in the private sphere and at a quiet time. This will prevent interruptions and encourage debate and a serene explanation of the arguments. In online communications it is easier to break the dialogue and go to sources of information, but the body language is so important to explain one's own emotions and identify those of the other.

To reduce the spread of disinformation it is very important to follow all the above recommendations, since according to a study on the impact of the face news in Spain, 86% of Spaniards have difficulty distinguishing between false information and truthful news, while 4% of respondents say that they have generated some false news, and half of them acknowledge that they have been reported.

For all the above, we must be attentive to the information that comes to us and that we transmit, since it is much easier to create and disseminate a face news than to deny false information and avoid its dissemination.

Therefore, in the face of this proliferation of false information, we must use critical thinking, as the news faces advance through people who have no critical thinking and who believe everything they read or hear.


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