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LAST REVIEWED 15 December 2021

What’s real and what’s not? How to spot disinformation, misinformation and fake news

When you look up something online or see a post on social media, how often do you stop to consider if it’s true?

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When you look up something online or see a post on social media, how often do you stop to consider if it’s true? It can be all too easy to take an article, photo, video, gif or meme at face value but it’s really important that you think about who created it and why.

There has been lots of false information about COVID-19, for example – from conspiracy theories to miracle cures to anti-vaccine campaigns. At times, you might have felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information and made decisions you wouldn’t normally make. According to the Nominet Digital Youth Index, more than a third of young people (35%) have been upset by disinformation, misinformation or fake news.

As London’s digital mental wellbeing service, Good Thinking understands how false information can affect your mental health. It can be very stressful living in a world of fake news and not knowing what to believe. If you’re looking for health advice online, it’s particularly important that you know who to trust.

To mark #SaferInternetDay 2021 and its #AnInternetWeTrust theme, we put together these tips to help you spot what’s real and what’s not and to think carefully before sharing content with other people. Before we start, we thought the BBC’s definition of fake news might be useful:

“Fake news could start as disinformation (things deliberately made up for a specific purpose) or end up being misinformation (false content shared accidentally by people who don’t know that the information is inaccurate).”

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Transformation Partners in Health and CareLondon CouncilsThrive LDNMayor of LondonADPH London
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