How to spot fake news!

21st April 2017
Over the last decade or two, with the advances in technology and the rise in social media, fake news stories and even websites have proliferated - you may come across them everyday but could you really spot a fake news story if you saw one?

Fake news (sometimes referred to as hoax news) is deliberately published – often on social media – in order to drive web traffic. It uses alluring ‘click-bait’ type posts to trick users – from politics to celeb news, there was even speculation in the media that fake news influenced the 2016 American Presidential Election.

Fake News Election

Although similar, fake news is not to be confused with news satire, which is published for the purposes of humour and entertainment, rather than to mislead and misinform readers using hoax headlines and propaganda.

The increase in fake news has prompted both Facebook and Google to focus on tackling the issue with Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO admitting that, ‘Facebook has a lot of work to do’ during a keynote speech at the company’s F8 Developer conference this week.

Fake New Mark Zuckerberg

But, what are the telltale signs that a story is untrue? These tips should help you distinguish between REAL and FAKE news…

Check out the source

Make sure the story is published by a recognisable, reputable source. If you’ve never heard of the source before, do a little digging around their website, try looking at their ‘about us’ page, it could shed some light on the organisation.

Read between the headline

Fake news stories purposefully use inviting and catchy headlines. They sometimes exaggerate using caps and exclamation marks too. If the headline seems unbelievable, it probably is.

Inspect the photos 

Fake news stories are usually accompanied by manipulated images or videos. In some cases, authentic material is used but completely out of context. Be vigilant.

Double-check the URL

Phoney URL’s are sometimes used to mimic those of trustworthy sources to create a false sense of security for users. Check for small changes to the URL, for example, daillymail.co.uk. 

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