How you can become a fact-checker on Election Day and beyond

Laveta Brigham

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The term “fake news” is a reality we in the news business grapple with every day. At News4Jax, we fight to make sure what is presented to you on-air and online is authentic sourced and verified. But we do live in a world where “fake news” exists […]

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The term “fake news” is a reality we in the news business grapple with every day.

At News4Jax, we fight to make sure what is presented to you on-air and online is authentic sourced and verified.

But we do live in a world where “fake news” exists and news consumers like you fight the same never-ending battle. It can sometimes be difficult to know what in your social media feed is legitimate news or opinion and what is there to purposely misinform you.

So, how can you tell fact from fiction?

MORE: Need something verified? Share it here.

Fergus Bell, one of the founders of Fathm who helped News4Jax establish the Trust Index, was on The Morning Show on Monday to talk about how to look for misinformation and disinformation on Election Day and beyond.

Bell said misinformation, like rumors, is often shared without the intent to cause harm, while disinformation is false information that is intended to mislead.

“You don’t have to be a journalist to analyze what you’re seeing. You have the tools of critical thinking already and you probably do it throughout your life as you’re assessing things,” Bell said.

Watch full interview

RELATED: Trust Index: Fact-checking the final Trump, Biden debate

Bell offered a few quick bits of advice for anyone looking to verify if a story is true or not, something he recommends doing before you share a story or meme with friends and family on social media.

“We need to do things like, check the source, check the source’s source and check your bias,” Bell said. “Are you wanting to believe this because it fits your own personal beliefs, or is it something that you’re caught up in the moment with social media?”

Bell added the best thing to do is slow down and take steps to verify the information as best you can before reacting.

“I think we have to stress that what you share on social media, what you put out there on digital sources, is real,” Bell said. “You may see it amongst your friends, within your own ecosystem, but the thing, the actions that you take have real-life consequences. We’ve seen elsewhere in the world that people have died because of misinformation that has been shared on social media. And so there is a direct impact between what you do and what happens in the wider world.”

RELATED: Political text messages are the newest battleground. Are they legit?

If you have questions about any information you are seeing, you can always send it to the News4Jax Trust Index Team.

For more examples of claims we have already explored, check out the Trust Index page.

Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

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