International Fact-Checking Day: How to spot misinformation and fake news online

With an ongoing pandemic and elections coming up in many parts of the world, identifying and stopping the flow of misinformation online has become a primary concern. On the occasion of International Fact-Checking Day, Google has shared a few tips that you can implement in your daily online life to identify misinformation and prevent it from spreading.

Check the context of images

Images are very powerful tools and people who create and mischievously spread misinformation online realise this. Parts of certain images can be cropped and shown as standalone images to completely change their meaning. However, you can check the authenticity of most images you find online by once running it through Google. To do this, simply right-click on a picture when it is open in your browser and choose “Search Google for Image.”

Check multiple sources

The best way to check the authenticity of any news you come across is to check if one or more trustworthy news publications have also reported on the matter. You can simply search for any topic on the Google Search app and switch to the News panel to find relevant articles. You can also search for news via your favourite browser.

Use fact-checking tools

Fact-checking is an essential part of surfing the web for information. Whenever you come across any bit of information that looks too good to be true, make sure you fact check it. You can use online tools like ‘Fact Check Explorer’ by Google for this. This is also an ideal practice to follow for those forwards you get on WhatsApp or other applications.

Use Google Earth

Misinformation around particular areas, malls, monuments or other geographical elements can also be tackled via Google Earth. You can use Google Earth to get to know pretty much everything about a location, including pictures of the most famous locations. You can then check pictures to see if they add up with the misinformation you have been spotting on the web. For instance, if you come across information that says “Bigfoot spotted near the Eiffel Tower” with the photo of what looks like an ape walking past a huge tower, you can use Google Earth to check images of the actual Eiffel Tower and determine if what you see in the picture is real or fake.

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