These Are the Quickest Ways to Verify a Trending Tweet’s Credibility

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Photo: fizkes (Shutterstock) – Do not allow a troll to play with your emotions in order to get an advantage over you. All of humankind’s wisdom, as well as the viewpoints of millions of other individuals, is at your fingertips. Unfortunately, not everyone who divulges information may be trusted. Others may be doing so out of ignorance or out of malice against you or your interests.

Take a breather the next time you read a viral tweet with stunning news that you simply can’t believe is genuine. Even if you feel prompted to share it with your family, friends, classmates, or even your whole Twitter following, remember that spreading incorrect information may have serious repercussions. The following steps can help you rapidly verify the accuracy of a trending tweet.

To begin, a word about media savvy

This isn’t quite the quick fix we promised, but it will help you spot suss material in the future if you put in some effort today. Although it’s true that our technologically-enhanced environment is always changing, media literacy should be taught in schools. But it isn’t the case at all. When it comes to teaching tough subjects in the United States, the educational system has a tendency to either skim over or completely ignore them.

Similarly, you have to re-learn the actual history of holidays or the fundamental principles of sex education as an adult. Media literacy is no different. Fortunately, professors and other great thinkers have realized how unprepared the typical adult is for their everyday interactions with fake news and context-free tweets. This website from North Carolina’s Chapel Hill university is devoted entirely to helping you improve your abilities. In a nutshell, you should:

  • Recognize how the media works. Outrageous headlines and tweets are meant to elicit strong emotions. In order to earn money, you have to click on a link and spend time on a website that has a link associated to it. Retweets will help the author get additional followers, engagement, and, in certain cases, money or clout if the tweet is a single one. You’ll be less likely to engage if you begin to suspect that your emotions are being managed to benefit someone else financially or socially. Except for a spike in your blood pressure and a tarnished reputation, what are the benefits of participating in that game?
  • Focus on the words you use. What kind of message is sent by the tweet in issue, and is it clear? There will be no fluff in credible news. We’ll get into how to use Google for extra context in a moment, but for now, try rephrasing what you’re reading in a calmer, less enraged voice. Is the popular tweet still telling you anything significant without the sensationalism?
  • Make sure you have a personal library of reliable news sources. This may take some time, but have a look around the homepages of reputable news organizations like the Associated Press and the Washington Post. Then go to tabloids and do the same. If you do this long enough, you’ll begin to see the telltale symptoms of news that has been overhyped but has failed to produce anything that merits a serious response. You’ll be a master of media literacy in no time if you apply that new perspective to everything, even tweets. Less is more when it comes to sensationalism.
  • It’s important to know where your information comes from. It is important to distinguish between a columnist and a journalist. An opinion is not the same as a fact, as we know. When you’re looking at a tweet, attempt to figure out what the author stands to gain by posting it. Of course they want to make their stuff as controversial as possible if they work in politics, or for an organization with a specific slant, or are otherwise encouraged to propagate their own views widely. Emotions have a major role in deciding the winner of a philosophical battle.

Think about the people who respond to tweets with an air of superiority

It’s possible that you’re a casual reader of the news, prone to being surprised by surprising revelations. Some individuals, on the other hand, are aficionados of this kind of thing and will jump at the chance to point out that a video supposedly depicting current violence is years old or that a quotation is misattributed to a historical figure. Make the most of their enthusiasm for being a public know-it-all, but remember that they, too, have a bias.

Check to see whether it was flagged as a false or misleading claim on Twitter

False or misleading assertions are flagged by Twitter in a subtle way. For the time being, all we need to do is click on the notice that Twitter has sent us. Getting additional information about what was said in the tweet will give you a more well-rounded view of the situation. If a claim becomes widespread enough, Twitter’s Trending section will provide tools for fact-checking the claim.

The people who create spectacular tweets do so because they want to play on your emotions.

It’s best to search for the quotation in a neutral language

A word like “indoctrinating” or a group called the “woke mob” are examples of words to avoid using. Reduce it to its simplest, most impartial form, and then look it up on the internet.

Right-wing influencers and media sites have dubbed a “free crack pipe scheme.” Madison Cawthorn and Marco Rubio have insisted for weeks that “free crack pipes” would be distributed in low-income neighborhoods by the government.

Thousands of people have retweeted Rubio’s statement that “there is no end in sight for this craziness.” Although these tweets are retweeted and liked in large numbers, there is often no background to back them up. This is the time to go to Google and type in the most basic phrases. In the wake of Biden’s context-free tweets, fact-checkers have taken their shots at clarifying what you should know about the Biden administration crack pipes, which you can access by searching “Biden government crack pipes.” If you have a list of reliable sources, you may use it.)

Read all you can about a popular tweet before the big media outlets have a chance to do an in-depth fact check. The $30 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Programs Administration is not a crack pipe distribution fund, but rather gives money for harm reduction services meant to minimize overdoses and the spread of infections among those who use narcotics. Also, you’ll see that the grant’s formation was announced months before, and it received little media notice until the “free crack pipe” controversy erupted.

Even high-ranking political officials’ tweets about “free crack pipes” seem ridiculous and naive when seen in context. The people who create spectacular tweets do so because they want to play on your emotions. What do politicians stand to gain by inciting people to violence and terror? Vote for them if they make good on their promise to address the issue they just convinced you of.

However, now that you have more knowledge, you’re free to join the ranks of the “know-it-alls.” Have a good time.