A recent Nanyang Technological University study found that there is a disconnect between how confident people are in identifying fake news and their ability to actually do so amid the Covid-19 pandemic (Many confident of spotting fake news, but may not actually be able to: Study, Jan 29).
Falling for fake news online does reputable news outlets that publish credible research a great disservice.
The inability to identify fake news can have a serious impact on society, as people may believe everything they read online. If, for example, people were unable to recognise that a post making unfounded claims about the effects of Covid-19 vaccines was false, it could cause unnecessary panic among the public.
Fake news can spread quickly because it is typically presented in a way designed to trigger strong emotional reactions in people, who are then more likely to share it.
Fake news is a problem that needs to be tackled. Actions should be taken to reduce the chances of people believing fake news.
Schools could start by putting up posters to increase students' awareness of the importance of identifying fake news and checking the facts.
Community clubs could also conduct workshops and other activities that teach people how to verify the things they see online.
Sherlynn Ong, 14
Secondary 3 student