updated guide to fake news blog header image

The Updated Guide to Fake News for Small Businesses (2022)

updated guide to fake news blog header image


The Updated Guide to Fake News for Small Businesses

Fake News for Small Business Owners is a scary prospect because it can damage your business’s reputation, and certainly when it stirs up a crowd, it can get out of hand fast. In this Ultimate Guide to Fake News, we will walk you though how to understand what is fake news, how to spot it, and how you can maintain a level-head and take steps in light of this.



What Is Fake News?

Fake News has several definitions and synonyms (eg: “Slander”, “Hate Speech”, “Propaganda”, “Nonsense”). But let’s start with the definitions from the Internet’s most accessible Dictionaries.

Dictionary.com defines fake news as: 

False news stories, often of a sensational nature, created to be widely shared online for the purpose of generating ad revenue via web traffic or discrediting a public figure, political movement, company, etc.

Urban Dictionary defines fake news as: 

A piece of news which has been distributed by a news organisation which contains some form of dishonesty, typically to promote a political agenda.

Cambridge dictionary defines fake news as: 

False stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke

Based on these definition, their name states the meaning: Any News that is easily spreadable and rouses readers to action for a certain end game (eg: Votes, Action/in-action, purchase). However, come the 2020s and this concern of Fake news came back into the spotlight as it componds over the weariness of the Pandemic.

In the meantime, those that are telling the news are getting more smarter in how they target individuals, serve content, and use data to make their arguement more persuasive. But, does that mean we are all screwed and enslaved to the political and media moguls? Absolutely not.

In this lengthy post, we will give you an overview summary, plus some extra articles on how to best build your self-discipline up to become an active citizen on the internet.




Where Does Fake News Come From?

Fake news comes from many sources, so this list is not 100% comprehensive:

  • Social Media Posts
  • Youtube Videos and TV
  • Sensational News and Magazines
  • Politically-Leaning News Organization Websites
  • Your social circles and Word of Mouth
  • The trouble is, most people don’t check the source of the material that they view online before they share it, which can lead to fake news spreading quickly or even “going viral.” At the same time, it’s become harder to identify the original source of news stories, which can make it difficult to assess their accuracy.
  • This has led to a flood of fake news.
  • In fact, one study found that more than 25 percent of Americans visited a fake news website in a six-week period during the 2016 U.S.



The Impact of Fake News in the Workplace

Fake news do affect small businesses and the workplace. It can damage your professional reputation, relationships, or your general industry you’re in. Examples on how fake news can impact your business includes quality of decision-making in absence of qualified information, or just doing business without information.

The insidious factor of fake news is how easily believeable it is.



The Ultimate Guide to Fake News for Small Businesses: what to avoid, how to handle and how to evolve to keep your business from becoming a victim of Fake News

If you want to know more about how to develop media literacy, we have an upcoming article that helps you develop that very skill.

  • But getting to the truth is always worth the effort – even if it’s not what you want to hear!
  • Use these six steps to weed out the truth from the lies:

Develop a Critical Mindset


Check the Source

Photo illustration might be miniscule, but it’s worth to always question the source of the image. Do a reverse image source to search for the original image.

See Who Else Is Reporting the Story

This can work on small-scale, but is most effective for global or national news. If there is a news-worthy story, more than one outlet are reporting on the story at a time. In a similar vein, check to see if there are other users or citizen journalists covering the news. But, as we mentioned earlier, make sure you also check your biases.


Examine the Evidence



Don’t Take Images at Face Value

Photo Illustration techniques can often distort the facts



Check That it “Sounds Right”

This Recommendation is prone to error and bias, however there are ways that you can personally check if this piece of news “Sounds Right”

  • Observe the ratio of logical:emotive language there is in the article or video. Sensational Fake News is to create “Shock Value” – a strong emotional response. Remember to keep your emotional responses to the stories in check!
  • Spelling errors in company names, or strange-sounding extensions like “.infonet” and “.offer,” rather than “.com” or “.com.sg,” may mean that the source is suspect.
  • Is this a well-known and industry-recognised author, authority, or publisher? Stop to consider their reputation, professional experience.
  • Reputable Global News agencies such as Reuters, CNN and the BBC have rigorous editorial guidelines and extensive networks of highly trained reporters
  • Fact check the article’s source of information. For data and “Scientists say..” articles, ask for a reference. Check the journal or research source to see if it’s been peer reviewed by a third party.

But it’s also worth noting that humans all contain an element of bias and error. Eye-witness evidence and even the reporter themselves are prone to skew some of the facts. For this, make sure you corroborate with other perspectives – even the perspectives that disagree strongly (note: this does not mean you need to agree.)

To corroborate, we’re releasing a future examination on the methods of cross-checking the news you recieve and how to debunk fake news in your facebook news or whatsapp messages.

  • You can use tools such as Google Reverse Image Search to check where an image originated and whether it has been altered.
  • Bear in mind that fake news is designed to “feed” your biases, hopes or fears.
  • For example, it’s unlikely that your favorite designer brand is giving away a million free dresses to people who turn up to its stores.
  • Equally, just because your colleague believes that two married co-workers are having an affair, doesn’t mean it’s true.


Free Speech under Threat? – Implication of Fake News Law 

Free Speech is a natural collateral in the fight against Fake News. Lines blur between definition and real life cases. For example, when does a News Site become a Satire Site or a Fake News Site? Can you accuse government propaganda sites for disinformation propaganda or hiring disinformation reporters to skew the facts?

‘Fake News’ Law Goes Into Effect In Singapore, Worrying Free Speech Advocates

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