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At News 6, we want to help you avoid fake news

Take action in your personal social media; mark us for preferential treatment

(GMG) – We’re now living in an age in which, every time you open your laptop, sign into Facebook or load your email, you could be exposed to fake news.

But how do you know what’s considered fake? Is the article you’re reading just heavily biased -- as in, perhaps from a personal blog or an organization with an agenda? Or is it FAKE fake, meaning, it’s satire or from a completely bogus website?

Whew, there’s a lot to consider.

Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to protect yourself from fake news and to remain skeptical of the things you’re reading online. You don’t want to become part of the problem and start “sharing” news that, well, isn’t. Because then it’s not just those particular websites that are dishonest and untrustworthy. You become untrustworthy, too.

Let’s start here: By taking action in your personal social media. Do you Like or Follow News 6 on Facebook?

Look for our name, “News 6 WKMG / ClickOrlando” in the search bar, and then add us. You’ll want your trusted local news source at the top of your News Feed.

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And then mark us for priority treatment, so that you don't miss a thing. Here’s how to do that:

  • Go to our page.
  • Tap or click on the "Following" tab, in the upper left area of your screen.
  • Make sure your preferences say “See first” under the section called "In your News Feed."
  • Make sure your preferences are switched to “On” for Notifications. This will allow you to be alerted if we post an event or hop online for a Facebook Live session.

Here’s what it should look like: 

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When it comes to reading news online, we want you to hear it, or take it, from us.

"At ClickOrlando.com, we take our responsibility as journalists very seriously and strive to provide nothing but facts in our content," digital managing editor Daniel Dahm said. "It’s not our desire to provide opinions in our articles. Simply put, we seek to inform the public and allow you to make any decisions you'd like with the information. Readers can trust ClickOrlando.com as their No. 1 source for news, from local stories to international events."

We don’t have an agenda. We just want to share the facts and help keep you and your family safe and informed. And we’re owned by Graham Media Group, not one of the major networks.

The people inside our newsroom share your community. We could be your neighbors. We don’t have secret meetings over what to cover up and what to reveal, or how to write our news in a way that influences your beliefs. But we do hit the streets, talking to people like you, as well as to community leaders, police and spokespeople -- and digging into our own investigative work, of course. We share what we learn every day, in the hope of making your lives easier.

And although initial reports can shift -- oftentimes because information from the scene can change, such as when a fire that was originally reported to be covering 15 acres might have grown to cover 50 acres by the time our crew arrives -- that’s just the nature of the business. We stand by our work. There’s a big difference between early information, or tentative reports, and “fake news.”

You have to ask yourself the following questions in determining what’s real versus what’s not: What's the source of the publication? Where is the information coming from? Do you know other information from this source, and is it reliable? Who is behind the site? Is it sponsored by some sort of a political organization or a group that you've never heard of? What does the URL say?

Or, if you’re perusing your Facebook News Feed, consider the source before hitting that “share” button. Which of your friends put this out there? Why?

Here's something else that can be tricky: The concept of fake news doesn’t apply just to news sites or news organizations. You have to pay attention to social media accounts, as well.

For example, the sister of a man who was killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting has said that someone used her brother's name to make a fake social media page. It was July 9, 2016, when Kimberly Jackson said she received a friend request on Facebook from her brother, Edward Sotomayor. But he had been shot to death three weeks earlier. Still, the request appeared to be from her brother's Facebook account, Jackson told News 6. It also included his name, his photo and his business name.

Also in 2016, in the days leading up to the presidential election, several Florida elections offices received phishing emails that were part of a Russian cyberattack, according to a report by the National Security Agency. But does that mean the Russians hacked Florida voting? No.

News 6 looked into the matter, and election officials in Volusia and Seminole counties -- two of the targeted areas -- confirmed to News 6 that both counties received the malicious emails, but neither county was affected. Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Michael Ertel said his office took measures to make sure they were not impacted. “No, Russians didn’t hack Florida voting,” Ertel said.

The moral of the story is: It’s important to be skeptical online. Pictures can be doctored. A personal blog can look like the website for a major news organization. Information can spread quickly in cases such as a major weather event.

But when you start by using News 6 as your go-to source, you don’t have to worry about us. We’re here to make your lives easier -- one story at a time.


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