Over 30,000 people have been killed in the Turkiye-Syria earthquake and the death toll continues to rise. Rescuers are racing against time to retrieve those still trapped under the debris of hundreds of buildings. The Indian government too has sent NDRF teams alongside relief materials.

Meanwhile, there is another battle taking over the Internet; Middle-Eastern fact-checkers are fighting against online misinformation. They say social media posts designed to cause panic and confusion are further creating unrest among citizens. Many are falling prey to fake news, particularly shared by Twitter Blue accounts.

Authorities then restricted access to the platform, claiming that this was to combat misinformation. But after much criticism, the restriction was lifted. This approach turned out to be a double-edged sword as residents are also using the micro-blogging site to share the location of unaccounted people and are alerting rescue teams.

The events of the last few days are yet another example of how misinformation has real-world consequences. But it’s still possible to be cautious while accessing information online.

It’s vital to adopt a framework that helps you distinguish authentic news from propaganda. For starters, people can follow the late astronomer Carl Sagan’s ‘Baloney detection kit’ — a simple method of critical thinking that deduces if a piece of information is true or false. You can even verify information from sites that are certified by the ‘International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter’. When a disaster occurs, social media users often share old videos or photos of unrelated events without source links. These posts need to be cross-checked with other reputed news agencies for authenticity. It’s also advisable to share information about recognised NGOs or agencies accepting donations to help the rescue efforts.