Fake news are a real problem. Social media provides us with a constant stream of news. In fact, PEW Research recently released a report stating 62% of US adults get their news from social media. Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, or another site of your choice, you will be inundated with information from around the world. And it’s great that we have access to the world through a small screen.
However, it has become so easy to take everything at face value; we no longer dig deeper into the news to learn if what the media and internet is showing us is real. We are able to confine ourselves to a bubble where only the news we want to see gets through. Sadly, the news we let in may even be fake news.
How to Tell if a Site is Fake News
1. Fake News Love Capslog
There are a few things you can do when trying to determine if news is fake or not. Before you even click on the link to the site, is the title all in caps? Is the title something shocking that seems too dramatic to be real? Do you go “I can’t believe this” when the link pops up on your timeline? Well, it’s probably fake. These titles are akin to the spam advertisements you see like “THIS MOTHER IS HATED BY DOCTORS!!!” and then when you click on them you get a virus.
2 Fake URL, Fake News
Second, look at the URL of the website. Many fake news site use URLs that are similar to reputable news sources. They make small changes to the name to make their site look credible. To someone who is merely glancing at the website, they’ll believe that they are looking at an established news source. Also, if the title is something like “wearethetruth.blog” they probably aren’t trustworthy.
3 Fake Spelling
When you are on the site, be wary of strange formats and constant spelling mistakes. Also, check to see if the sources the author is using are real sources. If they are merely citing evidence without providing links to reputable sources or their sources seem unreliable, the article probably isn’t real.
4 Compare News
If you are still unsure, check other news sites. Preferably, ones you know are real. If you are unable to find other news sources that are reporting the same information, then you have probably stumbled across a fake site. In this case, don’t share the link no matter how much you want to believe it.
5 Deliberately Fake News
Another thing to be wary of is if the article is meant to be fake. As in satire. As in, don’t cite The Onion as a source that will back up your argument. If you want to know if a site is satirical or not, check the about section. Checking the about section of most sites can also give you an idea if an article can be trusted or not.
In this day and age, we need to be careful about how we consume news and share it. We want certain stories to be true because they confirm what we believe. But, we need to look into stories and find the facts. Letting our confirmation biases get in the way only limit our view of the world rather than allow us to expand our understanding. So, if an article looks too good to be true, or you’re unsure of the legitimacy of what you’re reading, don’t share it.