Fake news has become a big topic these days. However, fake news is nothing new. It has been around for many years. The rise of social media catapulted fake news into the mainstream.
With each side accusing the other of peddling fake news, it isn’t easy to know a fabricated message and the truth. This article will help you in identifying fake news from the truth.
Evaluate the Source
The source of information can tell you whether you are reading a fake story. Generally, fake sites are a few days old, and they lack any historical legitimacy. On the other hand, sites that have been in operation for many years will tell the truth.
Therefore, before you consider a story to be true, you must read other stories on the website. If the other stories are genuine, then that site may be telling the truth. However, if the source seems to be publishing outlandish claims, you should read their story with a grain of salt.
Read Past the Headline
Unscrupulous websites tend to use catchy headings as bait. Unfortunately, some people fall for this when they believe every headline that they see on the internet. If a viral headline catches your attention, you shouldn’t be quick to believe it. It would be best if you opened the headline and read all that shocking information.
The story will match the headline, provided the website is genuine. If the story is different from the headline, then that is a fake story. For instance, the headline may be about a scandal in the White House, but the story itself will be talking about how to enjoy bbq at the comfort of your back patio.
Investigate the Author of the Story
It would be best if you also took a keen interest in the byline. Most stories have the name of the writer at the top or bottom of the page. When you see a story that has no name, that story is probably fake. If it does have the author’s name, you should find out more information about him or her.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are a good starting point. These sites will give you a report of what other people are saying about the author. Legitimate people usually have glowing reviews on social media sites. At the same time, peddlers of fake news have a hard time on social media.
Check the References
Fake stories tend to tie their information to official sources. They aim to make you believe that the story was acquired from a legitimate source. It would be best if you weren’t too quick to agree to this. Instead, you have to open that source and see if it’s backing up the claim. Search checks provide clarity and accuracy when it comes to believing online stories.
Some bogus news sites have taken the game to a new level. While they do link to a legitimate source, they go a step further and tweak small details. The tweaking of small details may be hard to notice if you are in a hurry. Unfortunately, this means that you must spend a lot of time reading and checking every source.
Check the Date
One of the things tweaked by fake news sites is the date. The site may take a seemingly simple story and change the date. They then embed this story into a current situation. If you’re not careful, you may believe the story’s legitimacy because a trusted reference backs it. The best thing you can do is to check the original story’s publication date.
Determine if it’s Satire
You should determine if the story was intended as a joke. Sometimes, satirical news sites publish funny stories, but they make them look serious. If you have a problem understanding jokes, you may be a victim of fake news.
Check Your Biases
It is difficult to abandon your usual political leanings. People like to lead things that confirm their beliefs. When they see something that supports their political and social wishes, they will believe it, even if they haven’t verified its legitimacy. Consequently, it is important to put aside your political leanings when you are reading an online story.
You should also not believe everything that your favorite politician says or posts online. Their plan and lifestyle may be similar to yours, but that doesn’t legitimize everything they say. You have to conduct the usual fake news checks on all stories, including those published by reputable leaders.
Ask the Experts
If everything else fails, you should reach out to the experts. They know how to identify a fake news story. Most of them are providing free fact-checking services that you can use to shield yourself from misinformation. For instance, the Washington Post Fact-checker lists hundreds of fake stories on its website every week. You can check if a viral story is on this list. Other popular fact-checking sites include snopes.com and factcheck.org.
Conclusion Successful people use accurate information when they are making decisions. Fake news is a threat to society and your well-being. You must identify fake stories before they can ruin your view of the world. Use the tips we have provided above to get started.