How to spot fake news
Not everything we see in the news is true and it is more important than ever to make sure that you get your facts right when reading information online. There are two types of fake news: completely untrue articles that are deliberately shared to get people to believe in something false or to direct you to a different website, and the news stories that have some elements of truth in but some of the details may not be entirely accurate or are exaggerated. Both types of fake news can be dangerous for the reader, so here are a few tips to make sure you are aware of what’s real and what’s not:
Check the source
Do you recognise the publication the story has been published by and does it look legit? For example, The Guardian online is a much more reliable source than www.realnewsstories.com and the journalists who publish the stories on more well-known and widespread publications will need to go through fact-checking procedures to comply with their companies’ ethics and to keep up their reputation of producing valid news. Also, have a search to see if the publication may have an alternate motive to publishing this story: might it gain something like more sales or may its stories be published in a way to frame competing companies?
See if the story is being shared anywhere else
Generally, if the news story is true, there will be a range of publications that share the same story, even if it’s framed in different ways. Big political events and conferences will always be featured in the mainstream news sources and any notable events no doubt will too. If the article is a bit more niche, it’s best to fact-check however you can, whether that be reading various Twitter feeds or reviewing various sources.
Is it a joke?
Something completely bonkers may just be someone’s idea of a funny prank to play to see how many people believe it. Some people really do have too much free time…
Check the author and date
Stories that are out of date may not be relevant to current events and can create the wrong impression for things that are periodical!