Entertainment

How to spot fake news and fake news bots on Twitter: The best tips

A new survey has found that a whopping 57 per cent of Australians believe that some form of fake news or hoaxes has emerged on social media in the past year.

The research was commissioned by News Corporation Australia, which said it has been inundated with calls about fake news stories on social networks.

The findings suggest that social media users have developed an ability to spot and block the spread of misleading content.

The research found that 43 per cent said they had heard about fake or misleading content on social platforms, and only 29 per cent believed it was genuine.

“When you’re using social media to create a news source, it’s a big risk because you have to take your audience seriously,” News Corp’s research director, Sam Gee, said.

“There’s no excuse for fake news.”

The survey of 1,000 Australian adults aged between 18 and 50 revealed that the biggest threat to fake news on social-media platforms is “a large group of people sharing content with one voice”.

“A lot of people are using social platforms to share content, but when that content is misleading, it becomes a problem for the public,” Mr Gee said.

Mr Gee warned that social platforms should also be wary of fake or biased content, which he said could be used to sow fear and distrust.

“If you are spreading false information, people will look for it and that could be a big danger for your business,” he said.

Fake news is “probably the most widespread form of misinformation”, Mr Gree said, adding that the “number of posts, the number of comments and the number and variety of topics that get shared on social sites has increased exponentially”.

“People want to share news that’s not really news,” he added.

News Corp said it was looking into how its network of more than 100 media properties, including The Australian and The Sunday Age, might be impacted by fake news, and said the research did not indicate that fake news had made its way into those publications.

But the findings did suggest that people could use their own social media channels to spread fake news.

“It’s definitely an issue and I think that people are getting into it because it’s easier to do on social and it’s harder to avoid,” Mr Lee said.

News Ltd has already made some changes to its advertising and social media platforms, but Mr Lee cautioned that these are only “temporary”.

“The bottom line is that we have to do things to keep ourselves and our audience safe,” he told news.com.au.

The survey, which surveyed 1,200 people, found that 39 per cent agreed that some of the information being shared on Facebook and Twitter was fake news (up from 25 per cent in 2016).

“If there’s a news story that is too bad to share on social, I would definitely not share it,” Mr Waddell said.

“But if I saw a news article that was too good to share, I’d share it.”

I’m not saying that I think there is any malicious intent behind that, but we have people making mistakes and trying to spread misinformation.

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