Fake news

We are living unfortunate times. A pandemic is ravaging all countries and the population has had to take extreme measures such as confinement and physical distancing.

Luckily, nowadays, we have technologies like the Internet, messaging apps, videoconference apps, social networks and others that allow us to practice physical distancing but avoiding social distancing. Unluckily, like any other tools, they can be used for good and for bad.

One of this bad uses we can see, especially right now, is the publication and expansion of Fake News and False Information, with all the danger, uncertainty and public opinion manipulation they bring to the table.

The term Fake News is closely associated with politics while the term False Information is referred to a diverse range of disinformation covering topics such as health, environmental and economics across all platforms and genres.

False information is not new, however, it has become a hot topic in the last few years and, on this health crisis, it has become more evident than never. The increase in the use of social media and messaging apps these days due to lockdowns and isolation can cause an overload of information and make more difficult to tell whether stories are credible or not. In addition, not just the increase of use of these platforms but the lack of knowledge about how the Internet works have caused the spread of all kinds of false information.

There are different types of false information based on the intention the pursue:

  • Clickbait: Designed and written to attract more visitors to a website to, usually, monetize this increase of traffic and based on sensationalist headlines sacrificing truth and/or accuracy.
  • Propaganda: Stories designed to mislead or provided biased points of view.
  • Satire/Parody: Created for pure entertainment or parody. Despite the intention is clear on the origin, when they get divulgated and lose context they can mislead audiences.
  • Sloppy Journalism: Journalism is a serious job and proper investigations and verifications need to be done before publishing a story. When journalists take shortcuts or they do not verify their sources misleading or wrong stories can be published.
  • Biased News: Social media personalisation algorithms can publish more often news in user’s feeds that are more aligned with their ideology and thoughts (how this is done, it is a completely different topic). This can cause users believing and spreading misleading news.

It is more important now that ever to exercise and enforce our critical thinking and do not blindly trust everything we see and is shared with us through messaging groups and social networks. Especially, because every time we share or resend false information we are legitimating it to the eyes of the people that know us (well, not everyone, all of us have this friend that…you know).

There are a few things and questions we can consider before sharing something or “legitimate” somethings:

  • Be suspicious of any information that is very scandalous or emotional. Put it in quarantine before taking it for granted. Find out where it came from and, above all, do not send it until you are sure it is true.
  • Often, fake news carries fake signatures from recognized journalists, and even covers and media headlines are tricked into making it appear true. Again, before spreading it, look for that news on the website of the media. Check that they have actually published it.
  • Be suspicious of any message that includes phrases such as “it’s true”, “I’ve verified it” “it’s an aunt/niece of mine”, etc. They are usually phrases from false WhatsApp chains.
  • Many audio and video messages from alleged experts are used to mislead people. Search their names on the internet before giving them up for truth if the information does not come from a reliable means of communication.
  • Many photos are manipulated. Before taking them for granted, make sure they are not. These are tools that allow you to check it such as Google Reverse Image Search, it will help to find the original source of the news and its first publication date.
  • Visit specialized in denying hoaxes platforms whenever it is possible.
  • And, use common sense, check before forwarding and if something does not smell good probably is not good.

I hope everyone is doing well, stay safe and, for everyones benefit, stay sharp and cautious when you publish or re-publish information out there. Knowledge is power but, the correct one.

Fake news

Embracing remote work

Recently, due to some unexpected and undesired circumstances, I have been forced to work remotely for a long period of time, enough to build some opinions and put to test some initiatives around remote work that I read in the past. Here there are some conclusions. Some of them can be probably extrapolated to any kind of role but, in this case, they are from a software developer point of view.

In advance, I will say that I am someone that likes to be at the office, the whiteboard discussions with multiple participants, even, just to grab a notebook draw or write something and discuss it with the people, this kind of things. Till now, I have not had the chance or the willing to be working remotely for a long period of time but, life sometimes needs adaptation.

A few things I have learned or they have worked during this period:


One of the main concerns usually it is that the people working remotely are not going to perform at the same level that if they were at the office. I must say that this is completely false. We are adults, we have our tasks, responsibilities and deadlines, we must learn to trust each other. Without trust, this is not going to work. Remote workers should not be asked to prove constantly they are working. We should measure their performance based on the same metrics they would have if they were at the office. Managers and colleagues need to be open to trusting remote workers and remote workers need to work in this trust.

Instant messages

Instant messaging tools like Slack are great, they allow us to communicate in an easy way, ask and solve questions, send tasks, send deadlines, share files, etc. But, they are not a control tool, do not expect your remote worker answering always a few seconds after you have sent a message to them, in the same way, that you should not expect an answer from someone it is at the office.

And, in addition to the instant messaging tools, try using some videoconference tools like Zoom, talk with your remote workers, share your screen, catch up with them when it is necessary, even if it is just for a few minutes. Have a quick chat when resolving questions or planning. You will see how useful it is and it will create a closer relationship than the one just built using instant messages.


Make sure your company offers the appropriate tools to remote workers, they do not need extra tools just to have available the same tools the people at the office has. If you provide laptops to them make sure they can perform properly under the expected workload for their role. Have your IT teams configure the necessary tools like VPNs, 2FA, access key, etc.


Managers, face it, the fact that remote workers are working from home and they have available their work environment does not mean they should be available all times of the day. Respect their schedule. If they deliver, if they are flexible to be available for worth it meetings, do not push them to work off-hours and do not expect them to be answering emails or messages. Let them rest and be productive the next day.


One of the most heard things it is that remote workers are not around and they do not fit in the company culture but, what are they actually missing not been there? Some trivial conversation around the coffee machines, a few pizza or beer events. That it is nice to have but, it is not what defines the company culture. Include them in the big meetings like kickoffs, to transmit this kind of meetings using a videoconferencing app is not difficult. Invite them, when it is possible to the big parties, Christmas dinner for example. Just try to think a little about them when it is possibble and do not discourage people from using videoconference with them.


I will say that “If you have just one remote worker that needs to attend a meeting, the meeting should be online”. If this is not possible book a room with a speaker and a microphone, share your screen during the meeting, ask for the participants’ opinion even, some times, ask for the collaboration of the people on the line. Try, it is easy, it is useful and, it works.

Use tools available for remote working. There are excellent whiteboards, project management tools and, even, just a document excel or word where you can interact with people it will make everything so much easier.


Probably you will not realise initially but, there is a big chance that your remote worker is going to be an excellent communicator or, if they are just starting to work remotely, you will see how, over time, they will improve their communication skills.

They are going to learn a few things:

  • Picking up different tones. When you are face-to-face you are able to obtain non-verbal communication signal from the people around you but, in general, when you are working remotely, you have just the voices to identify different things and use them to improve the way you are communicating things.
  • Confidence. When you are face-to-face, part of your communication is done by your presence, the fact that you are there. When you are working remotely, you need to create this presence with your voice and your confidence.
  • Take to the next level the tools you have. A remote worker will use the available tools in ways that you have never thought. They will learn to use them more effectively and, probably, even find usages for them that were not initially designed for. Everything just to improve the way they communicate.
  • Make people understand them. They will learn to be assertive and clear, not rambling around. They will learn how to get to the point. And, they will learn to overcommunicate in order to establish better communication, explain themselves and ask for feedback.

In general, I think that it has been a great experience. I must say that the first week I was feeling a bit weird, I imagine that it was the sudden and unplanned change of situation but, this feeling went away soon and easy, leaving a great experience.

Embracing remote work