How to spot misinformation on social media and protect your business

Both individuals and entire companies use social media for modern communication. Often, however, information circulates in these media that is misleading or even wrong. In most cases, the focus is on both the private and professional benefits of this information. That is why social media are also quite helpful. But what happens when unreliable sources pass on this information? This can have very serious negative consequences. This has a particularly unpleasant effect, for example, in the case of false reports in the financial sector with regard to stocks. The situation is similar in the scientific fields. Unreliable data, such as statistics from research, can lead to an incorrect conclusion. That is why it is all the more important to be able to reliably classify the source when it comes to information from social media.

Questioning the basic facts

With this information, it is always necessary to question the truthfulness in order to clarify how reliable this data and information is.

The following questions are helpful:

·       Is the source trustworthy?

·       Can one of the persons be clearly identified?

·       How long has the account from which the information originated existed?

·       Does the information consist of a summary or is it original content?

·       Is the date of publication appropriate and trustworthy?

·       How transparent and trustworthy is the website?

·       Is it an actual real event?

·       What is the motivation behind this information?

In order to check these facts and clarify the questions, it is helpful to do some research in the search engine. It quickly emerges that the information is often false or falsified. Some places don't even exist in reality or an event never happened. It also helps to search for the author to expose the fake accordingly. It is useful to determine the original context and to search for it with quotation marks, if necessary.

Useful tools for verification

There are useful tools and utilities that can help to identify whether it is a real video or image. It makes a difference whether the image is shown original or has already been used once. The photo or video may have certain words, and research should be carried out for them as well. Incidentally, reverse image search engines are also used, which virtually guarantee the reverse search. The reverse search also works with special tools. For example, if it is about a publisher in connection with a logo, this should be checked.

Very many of these online tools and utilities are directly available on the web. This makes it possible for anyone to verify the authenticity of various data. The application is relatively simple, only a few exceptions require additional technical knowledge. Artificial intelligence is unfortunately often used for deepfakes, so audio files, videos and images can be cleverly altered.

Damage through misinformation

Misinformation from social media can also influence businesses. Companies that operate in a highly competitive profession are particularly affected. In the worst case, this has a strong financial impact or even leads to the loss of customers. Therefore, it is important to know the facts and check whether the information from social media is actually true.