Fake news is big business, with some site owners making thousands of dollars off of these websites. In part two of this series, it will be explained how to tell real news from fake news.
How to tell what fake news is
Check the source
The number one way to spot fake news is to consider the source. If it’s a website, check the domain name. Sometimes a site will use a real news organization to trick you, for example, abcnews.com.co instead of abc.com. You can also go to the original source of the information or story. Often you will find out that fake news does not have any sources cited at all. Don’t be fooled by an impressive-sounding source. If you can’t find the origin of the information in a Google search, it probably means that it was made up. Another common tactic is that there will be a link to a source, but it doesn’t support the claim made.
Who is the author of that article you’re reading?
The authors are sometimes just as fictional as the stories. If the only place they appear is on that site you just clicked on, it’s not a real person, but rather a fake name by the people behind the site.
Don’t just read the headline of a story, as shocking or infuriating as it may be. Before you decide to share, take a minute and read the whole article. It may not support the claim or while reading you’ll discover that the story has several signs that it’s fake.
With so many stories and sites popping up, it can be overwhelming to fact check every link on your own. An easy way to get around this is to install a plugin that does that for you. Fake News Detector, B.S. Detector, and more all help tell the real from the fake.
Don’t forget about satire
Some things classified as fake news are actually meant to be humorous. Publications like The Onion, for example, are known for dealing with current events in a way that is meant to be funny. Some people, however, can’t distinguish satire from real news. In doing so, satire stories can unintentionally cause misinformation to be spread.
It starts with you
Believe it or not, you are responsible for stopping the spread of fake news. Recognize the impact and influence that you have on those around you and be careful with what you spread around to your network. If you don’t know if it’s true or not, just don’t share.
Paid journalism is often free of influence since it doesn’t require clicks and sensationalism to sell ad space. If news is important to you, buying a subscription to a reputable outlet can make a world of difference in what you see. If you find it hard to distinguish real from fake, check the infographic from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).