How to recognise fake news
Three steps to identify fake news:
Apply critical scrutiny to a report rather than forwarding it right away
Fake news or pictures are often spread by private individuals not out of malice but because they are worried. Fake news can potentially fuel insecurity or spread panic. The more emotional or dramatic a message is, the more frequently it is shared. This is why it is so important not to participate but to stay calm instead. For this reason, it is important not to forward questionable content without checking it first. Do not share any content that seems dubious to you.
Check the sources and sender of the message
It always helps to compare dubious news with two other sources. The current news situation is reflected in the media offered by the public news channels and by respectable daily and weekly newspapers. Pictures and video material from the war zones is subjected to regular, up-to-date reviews by the fact-checking departments of many reputable media. You will also find information on official government websites: information on the war in Ukraine is currently available on Bundesregierung.de and on the website of the Federal Foreign Office, as well as on the social media channels operated by these institutions.
Always check who posted the video, picture or message. Is that person the originator of the material or has it already been forwarded several times? The use of a real name can be an indication that an account is authentic. On social media, it is best to stick to the verified accounts of official bodies and institutions (recognisable by the blue check mark). In the case of a website, check the legal disclaimer. This should include the name of an actual person responsible for the website content and a full address, for example – not just an anonymous e-mail address.
You can check whether an image has been manipulated or is an original by carrying out a reverse image search: the image or URL is uploaded to a search engine and the origin of the image is displayed. A reverse image search also enables you to find out whether the image is current or outdated, for example.
Use fact checks
Public service media and other independent organisations check individual items of fake news and set the record straight. Among other things, the independent research centre Correctiv documents and analyses current and internationally circulating disinformation and false reports on the war in Ukraine.