Send Me the Link Please! – How to Distinguish Truth from Fake Information

Anytime I shared some news with friends of mine online, one of them always used to say: “Send me the link please”. And, for some time this was kind of a joke between us. I kind of agreed with her that we should feed our mind with reliable information.

But, today I fully agreed with her request to know the source of the information. The reason for that is an article that was published today in Nature Communications. In a research they made about publications for ‘climate change’ issue, they found out that even though only 3% of scientists are against the theory that climate change is occurring, there are 49% more media coverage (in all types of media) from the group called “Climate Change Contrarians”. In simple words: even though almost all scientists of the world (97%) have agreed that climate change is occurring, in media people are seeing more articles, posts and comments that advocate that climate changes is not scientifically proven that is happening.

The findings of this research speak by themselves for the importance of the reliability of the source of information. When it comes to opinion creation, common people mainly use media as the main source of information. But, the 1 million dollar question is: What media should we listen to? How do I know who is reliable or not? Marketing theories, where media is mostly counting these days, say that when it comes to brand building, what really counts is how many times an individual hears about one specific name or phrase. The more people hear about something and most importantly when they encounter the same thing in various types of media, the more they come to remember the name of the brand and will believe in it. This is how big brand are built in the eyes of public.

Coming back to the issue studied from the research: What do you think public thinks about climate change occurring? I don’t have the figures, but I can bet that it should be around half and half. So, we have 97% of scientists confirming that climate change is happening and a disproportion of public awareness about it. And what if among the people that stand in the contrarian group are politicians and law-makers? Programs for climate change will be cancelled and people will continue to think nothing is happening, all the recent climate changes are part of the normal cycle of earth development.

As important as it is the standing about climate change, there are other important thing in daily life, such as: parenting, health and other crucial stuff in life. If parents believe unreliable sources, only because they shout loudly or never get tired of spreading their voice, especially online, than they will and up putting in danger their children by not vaccinating them, or feeding them with unhealthy food, or miss-educating children. Unfortunately, this is happening every day, and I’m witness of such discussions and damages.

The same happens about health advises we may commonly find online. I’ve found myself in difficulties in two occasions when I’ve tried such advise without thinking long. Since then, I always cross-check information I receive with other serious sources, to make sure I do not harm my health.

Be Careful People! Do not allow yourself to be ‘victims’ of “clicks campaigns” of irresponsible and unscrupulous people, who abuse with the power of media. Always check the source of the information and stick to reliable sources. I’m not saying do not give a chance to new voices, just make sure to cross-check the consistency of the information and its reliability. The same attention we show about selection of food we eat, the same and even more attention should be paid about food-for-thought we allow to enter our mind. Remember to always ask: “Send me the link please”.

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