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