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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Ten Useful Tips on How to Spot a Fake News







Satirical and fake sites really exist and there's a lot of them, but are clearly labeled as exaggerated and humorous by the writers and owners. 
Most of the people fall into a trap of sharing them without even knowing that they are sharing fake informations.

Now, how do we spot a fake ?

For those who do not see the thin line between satire and legitimate posts especially in social media, these 10 pointers might be of great help to you and to the entire internet population.

Read on!

1. Headline and contents mismatch.

One way that fake news gets amplified and spread is that busy [or lazy?] readers may not read past the headline or browse through the entire article before sharing it . Fake news publishers  often take advantage of  this tendency. The next time you encounter an article with titles not matching the contents, dump it at once! It's a fake! 





2. Pay attention to the domain and URL

Reputable news organizations usually own their domains and they have a standard look that you are probably familiar with. Sites with such endings like .com.co should make you raise your eyebrows and tip you off that you need to dig around more to see if they can be trusted. This is true even when the site looks professional and has semi-recognizable logos.

For example, abcnews.com is a legitimate news source, but abcnews.com.co is not, despite its similar appearance.


3. Check What News Outlet Published It

Unfamiliar websites with lots of ads and "sensationalized" headlines should draw immediate skepticism. Check the site’s name in google and checking out other articles posted in it should also help determine whether it is trustworthy or not. 


Some fake news sites are outrightly saying that they are satire or don’t contain factual information. Others are made like a doppelganger to legitimate sites. Check the URL names of suspected pages, making sure that it’s not a hoax site mimicking a reputable source.

4. Read the "About Us" section


Be wary of the information about the news outlet, the company that runs it, members of leadership, and the mission statement and ethics behind an organization. The should be using a straightforward language.
 If it's fancy and seems overblown, you should be skeptical. 


5. Look At What Links And Sources Are Used

If an article lack of links or sources for claims is an obvious warning sign that the post is a fake. These sites may also provide numerous links to sites that appear to back up their claims, but these are self-made to spread bogus formation. Check if the links actually come from reliable sources.








6. Check The Publish Date And Time


Another common element in fake news is that they recycle old articles or events and lead people to believe they just happened. Checking the published time stamp is something that readers can do to prevent being misled.
However, sometimes the date of an article is current, but the events described within it are old. Click through links and read carefully to determine when the event described actually happened. 






7. Check the Comments


A lot of these fake and misleading articles and news are shared on social media platforms. Headlines are meant to get the reader's attention. It is often written in exaggerated language with the intention of being misleading and then attached to  completely different stories or just not true. Read the readers comments on Facebook or Twitter. If a lot of these comments claim that the article is fake or misleading, it should give you a heads-up.








8. Look Out For Questionable Quotes And Photos

It is important  that you know who says what.
Fake news writers can easily invent false quotes,  attributing them to major public figures. Be skeptical of shocking or suspicious quotes, and search to see if they have been reported elsewhere. Find a video if possible. Google may come in handy anytime.
It is also extremely easy to attach a quote in anybodys image. Again, keep a keen eye and do not just give in to these tricks. Find  legitimate sources.


9. Check if it's the Only Outlet that Reports a Particular Story

If it doesn't have a verifiable source and the story could not be read anywhere else but that site, it is most likely fake. Leave the site at once and never look back.


10. Make Sure it is not on the List Of Unreliable News Sites

Dr. Melissa Zimdars an associate professor at Merrimack College in Massachusetts  has a list of satirical, fake sites and click baits. If you are uncertain about the site that you visit, refer to the list by clicking here.



Anybody can fall victim to these fake news trap. The most important for these fakers to end is to be vigilant and keep your awareness of what is really happening around you.

Read the article in its entirety before sharing it.



And if you see your friends sharing a satirical article or a fake news, kindly tell them that it is a fake and don't shy away in doing so. Everybody should be responsible in what they share and it is important that you share  something that is true and useful.


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