Real or Fake News: Can You Tell the Difference?

Photo: MGN Online

Photo: MGN Online

Major social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, and others have been slammed recently for promoting fake news stories on their sites. They are accused of not doing enough to monitor the truthfulness of posted stories. The Huffington Post reported that Facebook announced that it would “work with fact checking outlets” to label fake stories, flagged by users, as ‘disputed’”.

According to Stu Sjouwerman of KnowB4.com, “fake news can originate practically anywhere on the Internet through tweets, posts, digital images, video, and/or so-called “citizen journalist” sites where people can directly publish their content without fact-checking or any other kind of content-curation.”

Fake news has already impacted political, financial, corporate and healthcare sectors in the past. Even though many of these fake stories were found to be false in short order, the damage had already been done.

How can you tell the difference between the real and fake news?

  • Ask yourself the following questions when reading a new story. Is it about a celebrity or does it contain sensational photos? Is the new post anonymous? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, be very skeptical.
  • Do a reverse image search to find a photo’s original source.
  • Are other new sites reporting the story? If no other news outlet is reporting the story, then it is most likely fake.
  • Check the source’s other articles or news stories. If they are sensational or make wild claims, then most likely the story you just read will be the same.
  • Look out for bad grammar and spelling. This is often a simple, but clear sign of a scam.
  • Don’t click on any links or photos in the new piece. Doing so could take you to a malicious website or download malware onto your computer. Sources: Melissa Zimdars False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources *and com.

How to Fact Check News Stories

There are a number of sites that work to substantiate or debunk the thousands of new stories published each day. You can use them too.

Snopes

Politifact

FactCheck

TinEye for checking the origin of photos.

*The work ‘False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and Satirical “News” Sources‘ is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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