WATCHING THESE TWO VIDEOS WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE!

Of course such a ridiculous claim is a complete exaggeration but would you be inclined to find out more after reading the headline?

Welcome to the world of fake news where the truth is a bonus.

Back in May I wrote a blog in which I described fake news as the biggest menace facing society and these two videos illustrate the point perfectly. 

While sunning myself in Portugal recently I stumbled across an amazing video on Twitter posted from an account called Brainy Philosophus.

They wrote: "Man plants a tree in the same place every day — 37 years later, the world is amazed by the result."

My timeline was full of people I knew who had shared it so I decided to have a look.

It shows a chap called Jadav Paueng, who lives in Majuli Island, in India. It essentially shows Majuli being transformed from an oasis into a barren wasteland after years of erosion.

Jadav decided to do something about it so in 1979 he walked into the desert to plant a tree and repeated the action every day for the next 37 years. Today the forest he planted is twice the size of New York’s Central Park and animals have returned to the area. It was a real feel-good story.

The last time I looked the tweet had been liked 341,607 times and been the subject of 213,132 retweets.

One of the people to retweet it was cricketer Kevin Pietersen, who posted in capital letters: “THIS IS UNREAL, IF TRUE!”

I had the same concerns as KP so I did a bit of research and was delighted to learn the story was true and that’s the problem with fake news  - you begin to question what’s true and what’s not.

Jadav’s story isn’t new – it was widely reported back in 2014 – but thanks to social media and a slick video it’s reached  a global audience of millions.

The second video shows American TV presenters Ali Velshi  and Stephanie Ruhle interviewing  a guy called Brad Thomas following Donald Trump’s decision to disband two White House business councils in the aftermath of his controversial remarks about the Charlottesville violence.

Thomas, who described himself as a ‘value investor’ and has written a book called ‘The Trump Factor’, started giving the controversial President the credit for gains in the US economy.

A lazy journalist would have let the comment pass but MSNBC hosts Velshi and Ruhle challenged him with real facts in terms of job creation and stock market gains.

Thomas looked like a chump and was ridiculed on social media; meanwhile Velshi and Ruhle were lauded as the defenders of the truth.

I would argue that they were only doing their job as journalists and it underlines the massive role the media has to play in eradicating fake news.

With this in mind it was refreshing to read that Snapchat used its in-house team of journalists to fact-check user-generated coverage from the recent Charlottesville protests with police before highlighting the posts.  Shouldn’t everybody do this?

If we don’t challenge fake news and hold the purveyors of mistruths to account then the biggest casualty will be the real news and then we’ll all be doomed.