The Institute of Public Certified Accountants of Cyprus have released a publication warning its Members of the dangers of sources who are spreading deliberately manipulated information with the aim to mislead people and sway public opinion.
The spreading of disinformation and so-called ‘fake news’ have become an increasingly frequent online phenomenon whereby falsified news reports are being created and reshared all over the world online. Economic and ideological reasons are mainly the cause for the creation of such articles, that pry on social media browsers’ emotions and inquisitive nature in order to capture attention as well as generating clicks.
A list of non-exhaustive steps is presented below that can assist in the search for verification of information or the identification of lies and disinformation.
1. Check the websites URL
If the URL to the suspicious article in question has any unknown characters or looks different from the usual website, cross check with other reliable and trustworthy sources from well-known brands and legitimate websites.
2. Check whether the article has an Author listed
Is the Author of the article listed or disclosed? After searching their name, does the person exist?
3. Check the listed sources
Has the article listed or linked to reliable sources? Anchoring text is a legitimate way to do this and is shown as underlined text. Before visiting the link, hover the curser over the text, is it linking to an internal page or a legitimate source? Does the story use anonymous sources?
4. Check the images and thumbnail
Using a simple image search can often indicate whether it has been used in a different article or context before.
5. Check the content
Is the article biased in favour of one argument or ideology? The article may be trying to sway or change public perceptions and opinions.
6. Think before you share
The story might be a falsification or a distortion of real or past events. If an event is real, reliable media will have also covered it, quoting the same ballpark figures. If the case involves cases its likely that any sums or amounts quoted should be to the cent.
7. Question your own prejudices
Compare reliable sources and consider that sometimes a story is too contrived or entertaining to be true.
We would recommend staying subscribed to trustworthy and reliable local tax resources in your area. One source for Cyprus is the business section of the Cyprus Mail, who hire their own journalists that report on any significant changes to legislation. We also publish daily Micronews regarding the latest headlines in the international tax news world.