There are specialized web pages with fake news – some make 10.000 – 40.000 € per month from the ads
“When the air temperature is 26 -27 °C, Coronavirus will die, it doesn’t live in warm areas. Besides that, drinking warm water and sunbathing is enough precaution. Avoiding of the cold food and drinks, including ice cream, is very important. Gargling with warm water and salt will kill Coronavirus around the pharynx preventing it to enter the lungs.”
These are just some of the recommendations that are spreading on social networks and are accounted to UNICEF. We have found on the Internet that these fake news were reposted by website of the parish Slunj – Župa Slunjskog dekanata (on March 16), and they have stated UNICEF and the Faculty of Science as the sources. In fact, these are fake news and according to Faktograf, UNICEF denied that they are authors of those messages on March 12. Despite Faktograf and UNICEF denial, this fake news is still spreading and we can find much more fake news about Coronavirus in other media and social networks.
We asked ourselves in whose interest is to create fake news and we have started our research on the Internet where we have found another recent fake news. That news was broadcasted a few days before the election for the president of the HDZ party. Members of the party received text messages with the title “HDZ elections”. Andrej Plenković, the President of the party said that it was the work of the opposite party to mislead their members. In that example, we can conclude that the same fake news is created because of political reasons.
Why are fake news created? We have found the answer on the web page of the Society for communication and media culture – Društva za komunikacijsku i medijsku kulturu. It says that “Behind the fake news are individuals and groups of people who want to reach broad audience and influence on their political, ideological or economical views. “ Except wanting to alter our opinion, the fake news creators also want to make money. We can conclude that it is a case of fake news like these about Coronavirus. Fake news have very attractive headlines, those headlines are also called clickbait. They are designed in a way that attracts the audience to click on them. Number of clicks is important for advertisers and with the bigger number of clicks, it comes the bigger amount of money for the fake news creators. Deutsche Welle portal published the data that there are some specialized web pages for fake news. American Jestin Coler, owner of several of those pages employs 25 to 30 “journalists”. We also find the interesting information that some fake news creators said that they make 10-40 thousand Euros income from the ads on their pages.
So, before we decide to share some news we have to think about it and check if the information because it is not true everything we find online. Portal Media literacy – Medijska pismenost recommends:
· do not read only headline
· check who posted the news
· check the Impressum
· check the date and the time of the post
· check the author
· check the links in the text and the sources
· check the questionable cites and photos
· be careful of confirmation of your opinions
· check the news with other sources
· think before you share
In case of fake news about Coronavirus, they can also affect spreading of the virus and diminish the efforts of experts who are trying to stop it. Because of that, it is important to follow and share information from official sources. In case of Coronavirus we recommend Croatian public healthcare institute – Hrvatski zavod za javno zdravstvo where they share information from real experts and not fake news creators. /Lea Harča, 7.b; photo sources: the Internet/
Original article is available in the school digital magazine Klinček