In an effort to help its users spot out fake news which has become rampant on their platform, Facebook has issued a 10-pointer to distinguish what is real and not.

In a newspaper advert published in the local press in the run-up to Tuesday’s elections, the American multi-billion technology company has reiterated its commitment to reduce the spread of fake news.

Malawi has 9.5 percent internet penetration as of 2018 according to International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

Polytechnic lecturer and social media analyst Maclan Kanyang’wa said the country has 720,000 verified Facebook users as of 2017 representing a 3.8 penetration.

Kanyang’wa’s statistics shows 65.5 percent of Facebook users in Malawi are aged between 18 and 34.

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) data indicates they have 6.8 million registered voters with 3.7 million being the youth aged less than 35 representing 55 percent of the electorate.

“A reasonable proportion of information production and dissemination concerning the elections is being done through these internet based platforms. Stakeholders including political parties, MEC, Civil Society and the media have adopted these platforms to reach out to voters who are active on these sites.” Kanyang’wa said.

Facebook said they remove fake accounts and disrupt economic incentives for people that share misinformation.

The technology giant said people using their platform should be skeptical of headlines. False news stories often have catchy headlines in all caps with exclamation points. If shocking claims in the headline sound unbelievable, they probably are.

Closely looking at links one click. A phony or look-alike link may be a warning sign of false news. Many false news sites mimic authentic news sources by making small changes to the link. You can go to the site to compare the link to established sources.

Investigate the source. Ensure that the story is written by a source that you trust with a reputation for accuracy. If the story comes from an unfamiliar organization, check their “About” section to learn more.

Watch for unusual formatting. Many false news sites have misspellings or awkward layouts. Read carefully if you see these signs.

Consider the photos. False news stories often contain manipulated images or videos. Sometimes the photo may be authentic, but taken out of context. You can search for the photo or image to verify where it came from.

Inspect the dates. False news stories may contain timelines that make no sense, or event dates that have been altered.

Check the evidence. Check the author’s sources to confirm that they are accurate. Lack of evidence or reliance on unnamed experts may indicate a false news story.

Look at other reports. If no other news source is reporting the same story, it may indicate that the story is false. If the story is reported by multiple sources you trust, it’s more likely to be true.

Is the story a joke? Sometimes false news stories can be hard to distinguish from humor or satire. Check whether the source is known for parody, and whether the story’s details and tone suggest it may be just fo

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