Causes of the Many Hoaxes Spread

Hello friends! How are you? Hopefully healthy and happy always. This time, I want to share about a phenomenon that may be familiar to all of us, namely hoaxes or fake news.Hoax is untrue or false information that is spread with a specific purpose, usually to deceive, provoke or incite other people. Hoaxes can be in the form of text, images, video, audio, or a combination of all of them.

Causes of Hoaxes Spreading Quickly

Hoaxes can be very dangerous for us and society, because they can cause confusion, panic, hatred, conflict, even material and non-material losses. Hoaxes can also damage the reputation of a person or institution, as well as disrupt order and security.Then, what is the cause of the many hoaxes spreading among us? According to various sources that I have read, there are several factors that make hoaxes easy to make and disseminate, including:
    1. Advances in information and communication technology . Information and communication technology makes it easy for us to access, process, and disseminate information quickly and inexpensively. However, this technology can also be used by irresponsible people to easily create and spread hoaxes.
    2. Weak journalism . Weak journalism makes hoax content continue to grow because they are not familiar with the verification, check and recheck process. Many unprofessional and uncredible media are only after clicks and sensations without paying attention to the quality and veracity of the information.
    3. Economic factors . Weak economic factors keep the circulation of hoaxes continuing. Many people are looking for income by creating and spreading hoaxes to get money from certain advertisements or sponsors.
    4. Political factors . Political factors are also one of the reasons hoaxes can spread widely. Many parties use hoaxes as a means of propaganda or the formation of public opinion to support or attack other parties.
    5. Social-psychological factors . Socio-psychological factors also influence the spread of hoaxes. Many people believe and spread hoaxes because of factors of trust, expediency, suitability, or the desire to be the first.

How to Ward Off Hoaxes

So, those were some of the causes of the many hoaxes spreading in our society. Of course, we cannot be passive and silent in the face of this phenomenon. We must be active and critical in seeking and filtering the information we receive.How to? There are some simple steps we can take to avoid and ward off hoaxes, namely:
    1. Always check sources of information . Do not blindly believe the information we get from social media or messaging applications. Check the source first, whether it comes from official media, trusted institutions, or competent sources.
    2. Always check factual information . Don’t be easily swayed by catchy or shocking titles or images. First, read the contents of the information in its entirety and carefully whether there is data or evidence to support it.
    3. Always compare information with other sources . Don’t rely on just one source of information. Compare with other sources to ensure the truth of the information.

What should be done when family members share hoaxes?

What should be done when family members share hoaxes
Then, what should we do when our family members share hoaxes? Here are some tips you can try:
    1. Don’t get angry or mock The first reaction that may arise when we see our family members sharing hoaxes is anger or ridicule. However, this will not help solve the problem. It can even make them feel offended, unappreciated, or embarrassed. This can make it more difficult for them to accept criticism or suggestions from us.
    2. Explain politely and politely After restraining emotions, the next step is to explain politely and politely to our family members about the information they share. We can use data, facts, or reliable sources to prove that the information is a hoax. We can also give examples of the negative impact that hoaxes can cause.
    3. Get them to do a fact check Apart from giving explanations, we can also invite our family members to do their own fact check before sharing the information they receive. We can tell them ways to do fact checks, for example by using search engines, verifier sites, or anti-hoax applications. We can also tell them the signs of a hoax, for example a sensationalist title, an obscure source, or an edited image.
    4. Appreciate if they are willing to listen If our family members are willing to listen to our explanations and are willing to do fact checks, we should give them appreciation. We can thank them, praise them, or support them. This will make them feel valued and motivated to be more careful in disseminating information.
    5. Don’t delete or leave the group Maybe there are some of us who feel frustrated and want to delete or leave WhatsApp groups or other social media which are often used as a place to spread hoaxes by our family members. However, this will not solve the problem. It will actually make us lose the opportunity to provide digital education and literacy to them.
    6. Be a role model One of the best ways to prevent our family members from sharing hoaxes is to set an example for them. We must demonstrate that we are always careful in disseminating information and always carry out fact checks before sharing anything. We also have to be critical and objective in receiving information and not be easily influenced by hoaxes.

Things that can be caused by Hoax

Hoax is fake news or information that is spread with a specific purpose, such as manipulating public opinion, inciting hatred, or gaining profit. Hoaxes are very dangerous and can have a negative impact on society, such as:
    • Disturbing and panicking . Hoaxes often contain elements of provocation, sensationalism, or fear which can trigger excessive emotional reactions from their readers. For example, hoaxes about the Covid-19 pandemic which spread false or misleading information about the transmission, symptoms, treatment or vaccination of the corona virus. This can make people anxious, confused, or distrustful of the prevention and treatment efforts being made by the government and health workers.
    • Dividing unity and oneness . Hoaxes can also be used to attack certain groups, organizations or individuals by defaming names, accusing without evidence, or spreading slander and hate speech. Hoaxes can trigger social, political or religious conflicts that threaten the stability and harmony of society.
    • Threatens physical and mental health . Hoaxes not only have an impact on social aspects, but also on health aspects. Hoaxes can cause stress, depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety disorders, or other mental disorders due to exposure to false information that causes discomfort or fear. Hoaxes can also harm physical health if they encourage people to take actions that are not in accordance with health protocols, such as taking untested drugs, ignoring 3M protocols (wearing masks, keeping a distance, and washing hands), or refusing vaccinations.
    • Resulting in material loss . Hoaxes can also be financially detrimental when they relate to online scams, phishing or malware. Hoaxes can be disguised as attractive offers, lucky draws, social assistance, or emergency messages that ask for personal data, account numbers, or OTP (one time password) codes from victims. If victims are tempted or fooled by these hoaxes, they can lose money, personal data, or access to their online accounts.

How to Recognize Hoaxes Early on? What are the characteristics?

To recognize hoaxes from an early age, we need to pay attention to several characteristics, including:
    • Do not have a clear or reliable source . Hoaxes usually don’t include author names, publication dates, or valid references. Hoaxes also often come from unprofessional or unknown sites.
    • Contains elements of provocation, sensationalism, or slander . Hoaxes usually aim to evoke negative emotions, such as fear, anger, hatred or suspicion of certain parties. Hoaxes also often present facts that are incomplete, inaccurate, or out of context.
    • Using bad or non-standard language . Hoaxes are usually written carelessly, without regard to correct grammar, spelling or punctuation. Hoaxes also often use harsh, mocking or insulting words.
    • Not according to logic or common knowledge . Usually hoaxes contain information that doesn’t make sense, contradicts science, or collides with previously known facts.
If we find such suspicious information, we must double-check it to ensure it is correct. We can use search engines to find similar information from more reliable sources. We can also use the reverse image search feature to track down the origins of the images used in the information. In addition, we can visit sites that specifically provide hoax eradication services, such as TurnBackHoax.id or CekFakta.com.In these ways, we can be smarter and more critical in consuming information in this digital era. We can also prevent the spread of hoaxes that can harm ourselves and others.Those are all kinds of Hoax discussions that we can learn, I hope this information can help us become more useful human beings. Thanks for reading~
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