The Cost of Lies: How Fake News Affect Emotional Wellbeing

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

In an age where information is just a click away, the spread of fake news has become a growing concern. Beyond its impact on politics and society, fake news can also take a toll on our mental health. The constant barrage of misleading information can leave us feeling confused, anxious, and even angry. As we navigate the dark waters of online information, it is important to be aware of the impact that fake news can have on our emotional wellbeing.

What is considered fake news? “News articles that are intentionally and verifiably false, designed to manipulate people’s perceptions of real facts, events, and statements. It is about information presented as news that is known by its promoter to be false based on facts that are demonstrably incorrect or statements or events that verifiably did not happen [1] .” Cornell University defined them as “fabricated information that mimics news media content in form but not in organizational process or intent [2] .”

How to identify fake news [3] ?

  1. Check the source
  2. Check the author
  3. Maintain a critical mindset
  4. Check the facts
  5. Check the comments
  6. Check your own biases
  7. Check whether it is a joke
  8. Check that images are authentic
  9. Use a fact-checking site [4] 

Who shares the most fake news? According to the University of Colorado [5] , “Facebook is a more fertile breeding ground for fake news than Twitter, and those on the far ends of the liberal-conservative spectrum are most likely to share it.” Toby Hopp, an assistant professor in the Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Media Design affirms, “We found certain types of people are disproportionally responsible for sharing the false, misleading and hyper-partisan information on social media”.

Where are fake news spread? We know from the beginning that advancing technology and growth in social media use contribute to the spread of fake news. “Regular users of social media are to blame for a lot of this spread, as they like, share, and otherwise engage with posts containing misinformation [6] .” For more information, please visit

Why is it important to be careful with fake news and how does it affect our emotional wellbeing? In the study “the impact of fake news on social media and its influence on health during the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic review [7] ”, some results were found such as “fourteen studies were eligible for inclusion, consisting of six cross-sectional and eight descriptive observational studies. Through questionnaires, five studies included measures of anxiety of psychological distress caused by misinformation; another seven assessed feeling fear, uncertainty, and panic, in addition to attacks on health professionals and people of Asian origin”.

On the other hand, Psychiatric Times [8]  considers that “during a public health crisis, the media has a direct impact in individual behavior in both positive and negative ways, affecting people of all ages. Consequently, if information about COVID-19 is exaggerated or full of misconceptions, then the media can cause alarm in the general public”.

In conclusion, it is crucial to prioritize our emotional wellbeing when it comes to fake news. Misinformation and propaganda can have harmful effects on mental health, leading to anxiety, fear and depression. Therefore, it is essential to fact-check information and seek out credible sources to avoid falling prey to fake news.

Additionally, practicing self-care, such as taking breaks from social media and engaging in activities that promote positivity and mindfulness, can also help protect our emotional wellbeing. By prioritizing our mental health and taking steps to combat fake news, we can create a healthier and more informed society.










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