The ease in which information can now be found online is one of the best things about our present state of technology. The trouble comes when that information happens to be false. Yes, we live in the time where fake news is rampant and is actively being spread by people who wish to cause chaos and manipulate the way people are thinking and feeling.
In light of this, we believe that it would be highly prudent for anyone not that familiar with technology to have clear tips on how to avoid falling for fake news. Here are a few tips that we personally adhere to:
Check the Source
The source of the news report should always be scrutinized. There are websites that mimic legitimate news sources but have a slight variation of the name. Usually, the variation will be slight—almost too easy to miss.
This is why it is very important to be very discerning of ANY website that you choose to go to. Fake news always finds a good home in social media and most people tend to not look at the site URL when they share the news article. A general tip we follow is if the name sounds dubious or funny, it’s probably a site that makes fake news on purpose.
Read the About Page
Most of the time, news which really seem out of this world are specifically made by satire websites. These sites make ridiculous news reports because it is usually twined with humor. The trouble is the fact that humor doesn’t always translate well on print so those who usually do not scrutinize beyond the headline and the first few sentences fall prey to this.
Make it a point to read the about page of a “news” website that you frequent. If it is clear that they are a satire website, don’t take their articles seriously. If the about page infers a serious publication, check the date when the site was made. If it’s fairly new, you can bet it was only made to spread false information.
Once you’ve checked the source itself and read more about the site, it’s time to validate the piece of news that you’re reading. You get the headline or the news and you type it into your trusted search engine. Chances are there will be a lot of other mimic sites which published the exact same article.
One of the things that you can rely on now is that there are people that actively debunk fake news. So there will be warnings about particular articles.
Fake news can be extremely damaging when allowed to spread. While you may not be able to stop people from creating them, you can certain stop the damage by identifying them properly. If you spot fake news, do not keep it to yourself. Tell your friends about it. Take a screen capture of the article or post—do not share the article itself as it generates profit for the creators.
Have you fallen for fake news before? What do you do in order to determine the legitimacy of news that you read?