How To Report Fake News On Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Twitter

Fake News online is a term used to refer to fabricated and misleading news.  Basically – it is a lie someone creates online to distract people from the real news and truth.  

When it comes to fake news, this is what is important to remember: the information is false, but it seems true

Here are a few things to consider when trying to identify whether a post or article online is fake news: 

Dive deeper: 
  • Where is the source of the story 
  • Do you recognise the website and is the website legit 
  • Research the author – are they known to spread misinformation, disinformation or fake news 
Read the entire article  
  • A shocking headline which would be created to grab your attention
  • Often in fake news the headline is all in CAPS and includes a bunch of exclamation marks and warning calls to action  
Who else is reporting this news? 
  • If it’s only one source, and contradictory to reputable sources, then probably fake. 
Check the facts 
  • Are the dates correct?  Is this an old article published years back on a different subject and altered?  
Fake or opinion? 
  • We have to be careful when labelling something as “Fake News” as it could be someones opinion that we just don’t agree with.  That does not make it fake. Ask yourself too whether you are basing your judgement on your own bias?  Not agreeing with something, doesn’t make it fake either.  
Is it a joke? 
  • So many jokes going around the Covid19 virus at the moment.  This doesn’t make it fake news either.  (EG – You will not all have weight issues after COVID19!) 
Use a Fact checking site 

How to report Fake News on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Twitter

Facebook – source: Facebook 

You can report fake news by clicking or tapping the upper right hand corner of a post and clicking “Find Support or Report Post” 

Select the category “False News” and send.  

If you want to learn more about this reporting fake news on Facebook, please refer to this Newsroom article: 

WhatsApp – source WhatsApp 

When you receive a message from an unknown number for the first time, you’ll have the option to report the number directly inside the chat. You can also report a contact or a group from their profile using the following steps: 

  1. Open the chat 
  1. Tap on the persons name or group name to open the profile information 
  1. Scroll to the bottom and tap Report contact or Report Group. 

Other ways to report issues to WhatsApp: 

You can send reports to WhatsApp by contacting us from inside the app.  

  • On Android: Simply go to WhatsApp > tap More options  > Settings > Help > Contact us
  • On iPhone: Simply go to WhatsApp > Settings  > Help > Contact Us

Please provide as much information as possible. 


WhatsApp may ban accounts if we believe the account activity is in violation of their Terms of Service. Per their Terms of Service, they may retain the right to ban you without notification. Please be aware that a user report of conduct in violation of WhatsApp Terms of Service won’t necessarily result in banning the user or otherwise taking action against the user. 

Spam and Hoaxes 

WhatsApp is working diligently to reduce any spam messages that come through the system. Creating a safe space for users to communicate with one another is a priority. However, just like regular SMS or phone calls, it’s possible for other WhatsApp users who have your phone number to contact you.   

Spam and hoax messages may or may not come from one of your contacts. These types of messages spread false information and are designed to deceive you and prompt you to act in a certain way. If a message looks suspicious or sounds too good to be true, DON’T tap on it, share it or forward it. 

Twitter – source Twitter 

Report violations 

You can report directly from an individual Tweet, List, or profile for certain violations, including: spam, abusive or harmful content, inappropriate ads, self-harm and impersonation.  

How to report an individual message or conversation 

  1. Tap the Direct Message conversation and find the message you’d like to report. 
  1. Tap and hold the message. Select Report message from the pop-up menu. (To report the entire conversation, tap on the more icon  then select Report conversation.) 
  1. If you select It’s abusive or harmful, you will be asked  to provide additional information about the issue you’re reporting. You may also be asked you to select additional messages from the account you’re reporting so that Twitter have better context to evaluate your report. 
  1. Once you’ve submitted your report, you will be provided some recommendations for additional actions you can take to improve your Twitter experience. 
    Note: Additionally, you have the option of reporting a conversation from a group message. 

How to report profiles for violations: 

  1. Open the profile you’d like to report. 
  1. Select the overflow icon   
  1. Select Report and then select the type of issue you’d like to report. 
  1. If you select They’re being abusive or harmful, you will be asked to provide additional information about the issue you’re reporting. You may also be asked to select additional Tweets from the account you’re reporting so that Twitter have better context to evaluate your report. 
  1. Twitter will include the text of the Tweets you reported in their follow-up emails and notifications to you. To opt-out of receiving this information, please uncheck the box next to Updates about this report can show these Tweets
  1. Once you’ve submitted your report, Twitter will provide recommendations for additional actions you can take to improve your Twitter experience. 

Instagram – source Instagram 

How to report fake news on Instagram 

  • Open the Instagram app on your phone, and head to the post you want to report. 
  • Tap on the three-dot menu on the right-hand corner of the photo. 
  • Select Report, and then select It’s inappropriate
  • Tap on the False information option to report the post. 

False information reporting option in Instagram: 

The company said it won’t pass every post to fact-checkers. Instagram added if a post is flagged as misinformative, it won’t delete the post, but rather demote it and remove it from the explore tab. 

SA Government Legalities: COVID19 Fake News Reporting 2020

It is illegal to share fake news surrounding COVID19 on social media:

Electronic Communications, Postal and Broadcasting Directions issued under Regulation 10 (8) of the Disaster Management Act 

Electronic Communications Services Licensees, OTTs and ISPs that provide linear and non-linear services bears the responsibility to remove fake news related to COVID-19 from their platforms immediately after identified as such. 

What is Fake News? 
“Fake News” means statements made with the intention to deceive as contemplated in the Disaster Management Regulations, 2020 

What are the types of Fake News? 

  • Disinformation: Information that is false and deliberately created to harm a person, social group, organization or country for the purposes to influence public opinion or obscure the truth. 
  • Misinformation: Information that is false but not created to cause harm or misleading readers. 
  • Mal-Information: Deliberate publication of private information for personal or private interest, as well as the deliberate manipulation of genuine content. 

How to report Fake News? 

067 966 4015 

What information must I include when reporting Fake News? 
The social media post, article or document deemed to be Fake News. 
A link to where the post, article or document is located. 

The Directions came into effect on 26 March 2020 and will remain in effect for the duration of COVID-19 disaster period. 

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