Robin Horsfall, Leader of the Veterans and Peoples Party (VAPP), has this week urged the UK to question what they read online.
Mr Horsfall stated:
“A considerable percentage of what you read on social media is deliberate misinformation that is sourced by foreign governments. Falsehoods repeated though thousands of fake news outlets is enough to undermine the unity of western alliances including NATO.”
The rise in false information and misleading headlines is on the increase within Social Media. Not only by foreign governments but by UK based hate groups and individuals set on pushing their own agendas by relying on the public’s lack of fact checking.
“Where our enemies see division they will do their best to exaggerate that division. They will create stories about religious groups, ethnic groups and socio economic groups (rich and poor) that divide nations by producing enough lies to inflame emotions and turn those lies into the perceived truth. Those false beliefs affect us all.
Check your facts, check the source of your information, read the bottom line on a post and find out where the story originated. Read it all, not just the headline and notice the typical grammatical errors that are unnatural to your native language. Our enemies spend a huge amount of money on making us fight one another. Check your friend list, never forward chain messages. Check your emotions. We all tend to believe what makes us feel superior to others - or information that gives us someone else to blame for our problems.”
As stated, not all information online is misleading or false. Some are deliberately written to be subjective and open to interpretation by the reader. In some case this can be worse than an outright falsehood as, in effect, the story is not completely false but allows the reader to determine their own reality to the issue.
However, all is not lost. With the rise in misinformation websites like Snopes and Fact check are waging their own war on false headlines. Members of the public can search headlines via these outlets to determine the origin of most mainstream stories circulation within Social Media.
Mr Horsfall concluded his statement with sage advice
“The best defence is reliable sources, fact checking and debunking as many of these posts as possible.”