Part of being a good digital citizen is avoiding propagating false news stories through your social media feeds by sharing everything you click across. We are all guilty of reading the title of a news story and accepting the content as accurate without checking sources.
In fact, so many people blindly share news stories that fake articles are constantly flooding the internet. Not to worry, there are many ways that you can spot fake news articles, and minimize their damage by not sharing them.
How to spot fake news:
- Does this seem plausible?
The purpose of clickbait is to create a catchy title that causes the audience to click the link and read its content. To get individuals to click links, authors go to extremes and write articles that don’t seem realistic. A good rule of thumb is, if a story seems farfetched it probably is.
- How do you feel?
Most fake news is created to give your emotions an overhaul, and if you are immediately alarmed by the content you’re reading, you should take a closer look. These stories are meant to get under your skin, so that you will respond or share the story. Take a deep breath and start the process of checking sources. Once you begin to look up this information you’ll see you were riled up for nothing.
- Where did it come from?
When reading a story, the first thing you should do is check your sources. What URL or domain did this article come from? Is this a reputable website? If the site ends in .co, it’s often fake. A common trick is for sources to use a legitimate looking name and they’ll sneakily add .co to the end of it.
- Where are the quotes?
Legitimate news articles generally have quotes peppered throughout from sources, so you should look to see if your news story has any. If quotes are mentioned, perform a quick Google search of the person being quoted. If you can verify people mentioned in the quotes, then it’s likely that the article is real news.
- Perform your own search
If you’re reading a questionable article, take a moment to perform a quick internet search about the content. Make sure that the sources you read are reputable, and you can also look for sources cited throughout the article. You should also look for papers that are peer reviewed, which adds credibility to the referenced subject.
Fake news is a problem because it’s catchy and most people believe it as truth from the minute they read it. If everyone would take five minutes to Google search and check sources on articles, it would vastly reduce the amount of fake news being circulated. Do your part, use these tools to cut down on the impact of fake news.