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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

      Vikas is the co-founder of Infobrandz, an Infographic design agency that offers creative visual content solutions to medium to large companies.

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      Last Updated on July 29, 2020

      19 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

      19 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

      Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

      There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

      This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day:

      1. Todoist

        Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

        Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

        If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

        Download: Todoist

        2. 1Password

          You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

          1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

          You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

          Download: 1Password

          3. Bear

            Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

            It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

            Download: Bear

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            4. Hazel

              Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

              For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

              Download: noodlesoft

              5. Alfred

                Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

                For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

                It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

                Download: Alfred

                6. TextExpander

                  TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

                  For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

                  An individual account is $3.33 per month.

                  Download: TextExpander

                  7. Backblaze

                    If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                    Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

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                    Download: Backblaze

                    8. Keyboard Maestro

                      Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                      Download: Keyboard Maestro

                      9. Snagit

                        There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                        Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                        10. Bartender

                          Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                          If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                          Download: Bartender

                          11. Otter

                          Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                          Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                          Download: Otter

                          12. Flux

                            Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                            Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

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                            Download: Flux

                            13. PDFpen

                            If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                            PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                            Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                            14. OmniFocus

                              OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                              It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                              A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                              Download: OmniFocus

                              15. Franz

                                It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                                Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                                Download: Franz

                                16. MindNode

                                  If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                                  The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                                  Download: MindNode

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                                  17. Focus

                                    The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

                                    This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                    Download: Focus

                                    18. CleanMyMac

                                      Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                      Download: CleanMyMac

                                      19. Grammarly

                                        A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                        This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                        A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                        Download: Grammarly

                                        The Bottom Line

                                        These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                        Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                        More to Boost Productivity

                                        Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

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