There are lots of fake news and information circulated online especially on social feeds and chat groups. Fake news are news, stories or hoaxes created specifically to misinform or deceive readers. These types of stories are created to manipulate people’s views, push a political agenda or to create confusion and to make profits out of online publishers. So what can you do about fake news? There are a number of ways you can do to evaluate contents that you view online and learning about the types of fake news available.
1. Does the headline sound unrealistic? Don’t believe everything you read.
Read the entire article content, there are many fake news that use sensationalist or shocking headlines to grab the reader’s attention. Usually, headlines of fake news stories are in all caps and use exclamation points.
2. Check the url. Does it have any odd suffixes or substitution?
Be wary of odd usages in domain names like “.com.co” as they are different and illegitimate sites, though designed to appear similar to the original.
3. Check the author’s credentials. Skip anonymous news reports.
Has the author published any other contents before? Be wary if the byline, which names the author is a celebrity writing for a well-known site or if the author’s contact details is a Gmail address.
4. Check for false images
Modern editing software has made it easy for people to create and design fake visuals that may look realistic. While amateur works can be easier to identify whether the image has been edited. Professional works would be significantly harder to distinguish whether it’s edited or not. If you still have doubts, you can use tools such as Google Reverse Image Search to determine whether the image has been edited or utilised in the wrong context.
5. Consult and compare competing sources.
Fake or biased sites tend to pick up published stories that have been edited to fit their biased views. Search for the original articles to determine what is the true context. This can be helpful when it comes to quotations. Quotes can be easily changed by taking out leading sentences and using them out of context.
6. Fact check stories with sites like Snopes, Politico, and Politifact.
Fact-checking is the act of determining factual information in nonfiction text to ensure the veracity and correctness of the factual statements in the text. Here are some of the top links that you can utilise for fact-checking:
FactCheck: This site specialise in checking up on political claims.
Politifact: The Pulitzer Prize-winning Politifact researches the claims of politicians and checks their accuracy.
Snopes.com: Considered to be one of the oldest debunking sites on the World Wide Web, Snopes.com focuses on urban legends, news stories and memes. Snopes also cite their sources for every debunking.
LinkedIn: A professional networking website where you can search for authors of articles and books to determine if they’re credible.
7. Dig deeper, Follow up on cited sources and quotes.
If you realise there is a lack of quotes and contributing sources, specifically on a controversial or serious topic, then something is amiss. Credible journalism is based on fact-gathering, a lack of research is an indicator that there is a lack of fact-based information.
8. Check other sites reporting similar news or story
Look upon other news sites to determine whether the story has been picked up. If the story you have isn’t from a well-known source or not verified, there’s a possibility that it could be fake news.
9. Is it satirical?
Satirical sites are well known online sites and sometimes it is not always certain whether a story is to tell a joke or parody. Check the website info whether it is known for satire or cheating funny stories. The best-known example is “The Onion,” which started in 1996 and is well known for deliberately publishing hoaxes in an attempt to profit from gullible readers.
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You Jing is a content writer who writes career and lifestyle contents to inspire job seekers and employers alike on their journey to work-life balance, empowerment and transformation in their career path.
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