Senwes Scenario Augustus / September 2017 - Page 54

•••• F UT UR E F OC U S Who can we trust? Stay savvy on-line! JENNY MATHEWS RECENTLY I URGED READERS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TECHNOLOGY AS A TOOL FOR BUSINESS, BUT ALSO TO ENSURE THE TOOLS DON’T END UP RULING THEM! IT’S INCREASINGLY CLEAR THAT WE NEED TO BE STREET SMART AND SAVVY ABOUT THE TWO-WAY STREAM OF INFORMATION BETWEEN OURSELVES AND SOCIAL MEDIA. ON THE ONE HAND WE NEED TO BE WISE ABOUT WHAT WE PUT ‘OUT THERE’ AND ON THE OTHER WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHAT INFORMATION AND VISUALS WE ALLOW INTO OUR BRAINS… MOST IMPORTANTLY WE NEED TO DOUBLE-CHECK EVERYTHING WE READ BEFORE WE BELIEVE! 52 FAKE NEWS T oday my WhatsApp was flooded with a post “Please tell all the contacts in your messenger list not to accept Jayden K. Smit, he’s a hacker… he’ll hack you!!!” I immediately googled www. snopes.com, the fact-checking and Internet reference source for urban legends, rumours, and mis- information (try it sometime, it helps). Hoax! I learned there have been countless similar hoaxes: ‘Accepting a Facebook friend request from a stranger will not provide hackers with access to your computer and online accounts’. Another mischievous post on Facebook claimed that Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshegka was warning children against too much reading as it could cause brain cancer. It is easy to read such news and click ‘share’ and so you, in ignorance, help perpetuate fake news. The truth is Motshegka is passionate about reading and has launched a campaign called Read to Lead. This should be a lesson to us never to pass on information we have not verified first. Never before have we had so much information at our finger- tips and if this abundance is going to help make us smarter and bet- ter informed or more ignorant and narrow-minded will depend on ourselves. Neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin says, “What looks like (and reads like) the truth may be riddled AUG/SEP 2017 • SENWES Scenario with lies if you look more closely.” MISINFORMATION abounds and has proliferated! Common strategies used to hide misinformation in plain sight are: • Hide lies amongst some truths - one effective technique is to get a whole bunch of ver- ifiable facts right and then add one or two that are untrue. • Website Masquerades - many websites are false, use mislead- ing names and pretend to be something they are not. If a site looks fishy to you, click around until you see what entity owns it. Do a Google search to see who else links to that web page. • Numbers are given without any context – in this way wrong impressions are easily created. Pure sensationalism! • Claims are made using false sources - Unscrupulous writers rely on most people not read- ing footnotes or checking cita- tions. When a product sounds too good to be true, check further. MEDIA LITERACY In a world where anybody can launch any ‘news’ at any time we must develop our own level of media literacy to avoid being easi­ly ‘duped’. Improve your on-line savvy by considering these pointers on how to tell real news from fake news from journalist