There are many examples of false content on the internet that had misled countless people. False or inaccurate information is rampant on the internet for several reasons. For one, there is a lot of internet user-generated content – such as photos, videos, blogs and social media posts – but little quality control. Users may create on purpose humorous or sensational but often untruthful content to get more views, likes and shares. This is made worse when the media use such content to get more views and sell more ads but fail to validate it because of time or resource constraints.
Then there are the rumors that get spread because they play on people’s fears and anxieties; malicious or falsified content that is created to push certain agendas; and opinions that are supported by untruths or only selected facts. To be smarter digital citizens, we need to be aware that not everything that gets posted online is true or gives us the whole story. We need to be able to discern facts from fiction, and facts from opinions.