Mind and Society 20 (1):129-133 (2021)

Abstract
The only reliable remedy against anxiety is information, and reliable information and news are of crucial value in times of crises, such as COVID-19. Contemporary social media offers almost everyone a platform to publish one’s own thoughts, opinions, political statements and others, some of which may gain significant interest of others and thereby become so called “influencers”. This role has in the past been held by news agencies primarily, but this role is increasingly adopted also by private people and among them, also some who do not necessarily adhere the high standards of good journalism or scientific ethics. These give rise to fake news, spreading as unconfirmed rumors and possibly causing dramatic impacts to a society. With information available almost everywhere in the internet today, the distinction between good and bad sources has become a challenge, and highly difficult task. Even more intricate is the question of verifying information against multiple independent sources. If many people say something, does this make it true or any more plausible? Do we need to trust information in lack of better information? Is it possible to judge information and make our own opinion about its validity, quality, relevance or usefulness for our own business? This article shall provide pointers towards answers to the above questions. We discuss some technical means of judging the quality of information and what anyone, even without much technical background can do to avoid falling victim to fake information and fake news.
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DOI 10.1007/s11299-020-00249-x
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