Straight from Facebook: How to spot fake news on coronavirus

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 23 2020 11:09 AM

Zechariah A mother and son watch a broadcasted Facebook Live service at Rising Star Church in Oakland, California, US, March 22, 2020. Shannon Stapleton, Reuters

MANILA – Facebook on Monday urged Filipinos to share only verified information on COVID-19, as it warned against fake news on the platform.

The Philippines is under a state of public health emergency and Luzon, home to half its 100 million population is on lockdown, forcing people to stay at home, driving social media use.

A social media user has the responsibility to "reduce the spread of misinformation by ensuring we only share information that we’ve verifies to be true," Facebook Philippines said in a statement. 

Here are a few simple steps to check the veracity of COVID-19 information on Facebook feed:

INSPECT THE POST 

False news items tend to have sensational and “attention grabbing” headlines, Facebook said. It sometimes use excessive exclamation points and overly dramatic headlines with shocking claims, it said. 

TAKE NOTE OF URLS

Some dubious sites imitate legitimate ones by replacing “0” with “o,” the social media platform said. To verify, users can open another window and proceed directly to the real website of the source to see if the post is using an altered URL.

INVESTIGATE THE SITE

Social media users can also verify information by checking the author’s name, Facebook said. Is the person a credible news source? Facebook also offers an “About” section for organizations to help users learn more about pages.

SPOT INCONSISTENCIES

Weird formatting, inconsistencies in the date and timeline of the story, awkward layout and misspellings are considered red flags and are often observed in fake news sites since they do not pay attention to details, Facebook said. 

Be skeptical of photos and videos that obviously looked altered, it said.

TAKE NOTE OF EXPERTS

Resource persons with undisclosed names and were written as “a top expert” could be an indication of a false news story, the platform said. 

COMPARE WITH OTHER STORIES

Do a quick sweep of other news sources and check data points with credible sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DOH). The story is more likely to be accurate of multiple credible sources are reporting it, Facebook said. 

GET THE LATEST FROM HEALTH AUTHORITIES

To get legitimate and accurate information, users are advised to visit the following official pages:

1. DOH 
2. DOH’s official Facebook page
3. WHO 
4. WHO Philippines