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5 Interesting Tips You Can Employ in Recognizing Fake News

5 Interesting Tips You Can Employ in Recognizing Fake News

The tail end of 2016 saw the rise of a new way to effectively spread salacious information on the internet without fear of any repercussion. This method, termed as ‘fake news,’ involves writing something false. It can play on stereotypes and confirmation bias of readers. A lot of fake news has been shared multiple times through social media and has gone viral. The fake news phenomenon is here to stay and if like me you love current affairs, the chances that you were sucked in by false information is quite high. Therefore to avoid these pitfalls in 2017, here are some unique ways in which you can recognize fake news.

    1. Guard your space with Google Alerts

    Google Alerts is a unique way to ensure that you receive news from only reputable sources you trust. All you need to do is set alerts that will notify you periodically once specific, informative news from sources you like go live. The process can easily be done in 5 minutes.

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    For those who have a Gmail account, simply login, copy and paste the Google Alert URL (https://www.google.com/alerts), and type in your news items and then click “Create Alert.” This process also works for non-Gmail users but you will have to tie in an email address to receive your alerts.

      2. Check links for credibility

      A journalist’s reputation is built over years. A reputable journalist will definitely have left his or her footprint on the web. The footprint the writer leaves as well as the platforms you find their work posted on should determine the level of seriousness you attribute to such stories.

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      Check out the the links used in the articles. If these links do not ring a bell or are not associated with the .edu, .org or .gov suffix, disregard that news item without second thought.

      3. Bottle in your biases

      Humans are communal creatures and growing up in any society will definitely leave its mark on you. In most cases, these marks are preconceived misconceptions about a particular region, culture, food or religion. Even the most educated of us never truly shed that skin as we grow older. So whenever we see news items, be it subtle or not, that speak to these misconceptions, we may easily believe they’re authentic.

      An interesting tip to combat our inbred biases is to be more open and accepting of other people’s point of view. This attitude should also be put in practice when reading headlines that suck you in due to their shock value. You can simply pass over reading the article, or crosscheck the facts it presents against those from more reputable platforms.

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      4. Fact check with facial and image recognition tools

      This tip addresses those news items that make use of adulterated images to horrify or push a negative narrative during trying times. For example, during the failed coup in Turkey, multiple images were shared on social media platforms in an attempt to depict the situation. In reality, these images originated from different locations and timeframes; they were meant to horrify the public. These kinds of manipulation tactics are deceitful due to how believable they can sometimes be and play upon your limited knowledge on the topic.

      But there is good news, quite a number of facial recognition software as well as image identification apps are now becoming popular on the web and, when in doubt, you can easily download one to help you trace the origin of certain images or recognize people in it.

      5. Let extensions be your detectives

      If you have gone through the earlier tips and believe the time taken to detect fake news using the outlined methods are time consuming, then browser extensions that detect fake news is for you. These extensions can be downloaded on your computer and installed. They then proceed to do all the hard work by scanning through news headlines and identifying the authenticity of a report.

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      The responsibility of keeping fake news items that can disrupt society’s well-being falls on our collective shoulders. It is truly important that we do not help the divisive plans of detractors by sharing suspicious news on our social media pages.

      Image Credits :

      Reading news in mobile phone via stocksnap.io

      Featured photo credit: freepik.com via freepik.com

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      Vikas Agrawal

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      Last Updated on October 15, 2019

      To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System

      To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System

      We are all about doing things faster and better around here at Lifehack. And part of doing things faster and better is having a solid personal productivity system that you use on a daily basis.

      This system can be just about anything that helps you get through your mountain of projects or tasks, and helps you get closer to your goals in life. Whether it’s paper or pixels, it doesn’t really matter. But, since you are reading Lifehack I have to assume that pixels and technological devices are an important part of your workflow.

      “Personal Productivity System” defined

      A personal productivity system (at least the definition that this article will use) is a set of workflows and tools that allow an individual to optimally get their work done.

      Workflows can be how you import and handle your photos from your camera, how you write and create blog posts, how you deploy compiled code to a server, etc.

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      Tools are the things like planners, todo managers, calendars, development environments, applications, etc.

      When automation is bad

      You may be thinking that the more that we automate our systems, the more we will get done. This is mostly the case, but there is one very big “gotcha” when it comes to automation of anything.

      Automation is a bad thing for your personal productivity system when you don’t inherently understand the process of something.

      Let’s take paying your bills for example. This may seem very obvious, but if you can’t stick to a monthly budget and have trouble finding the money to make payments on time, then automating your bill payment every month is completely useless and can be dangerous for your personal finances.

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      Another example is using a productivity tool to “tell you” what tasks are important and what to do next. If you haven’t taken a step back and figured out just how your productivity systems should work together, this type of automation will likely keep you from getting things done.

      You can only automate something in your personal productivity system that have managed for a while. If you try to automate things that aren’t managed well already, you will probably feel a bit out of control and have a greater sense of overwhelm.

      Another thing to remember is that some things should always be done by yourself, like responding to important emails and communicating with others. Automating these things can show your coworkers and colleagues that you don’t care enough to communicate yourself.

      When automation is good

      On the other hand, automation is a great thing for your personal productivity system when you understand the process of something and can then automatically get the steps done. When you know how to manage something effectively and understand the step-by-step process of a portion of your system, it’s probably a great time to automate it.

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      I have several workflows that I have introduced in the last year that takes some of the “mindless” work from me so I can be more creative and not have to worry about the details of something.

      On my Mac I use a combination of Automator workflows, TextExpander snippets, and now Keyboard Maestro shortcuts to do things like automatically touch-up photos imported from my iPhone 4S or open all the apps and websites needed for a weekly meeting to the forefront of my desktop by typing a few keys. Once you open yourself up to automating a few of your processes, you start to see other pieces of your system that can benefit from automation.

      Once again; none of this works unless you understand your processes and know what tools you can use to get them done automatically.

      The three steps to determine if something is “ripe” for automation

      If your workflow passes these three steps, then automate away, baby:

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      1. You can do this process in your sleep and it doesn’t require your full, if any form of attention. It can (and has been) managed in some form prior to automating it.
      2. The process is time consuming.
      3. The process doesn’t require “human finesse” (ie. communicating and responding to something personally)

      Automating your personal productivity systems can be a great for you in the long run if you are careful and mindful of what you are doing. You first need to understand the processes that you are trying to automate before automating them though. Don’t get stuck in thinking that anything and everything should be automated in your life, because it probably shouldn’t.

      Pick and choose these processes wisely and you’ll find the ones that take up most of your time to be the best ones to automate. What have you automated in your personal productivity system?

      Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

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