Identifying Fake News

newspaper headlinesFake news present fictional events as factual and it can mislead a lot of people. It is becoming more rampant in news sites and even in social media. Facebook has announced its stand on its fight against fake online news. Even Google has made its stand. It has introduced a search label to all the countries to show when an article has been fact-checked.

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Check the website – Fake news sites shows they are fake and you will find it in the bottom of the article. These sites rely on the user’s reaction on sensational headlines using all caps and exclamation points without even reading the conclusion.
  • Look-alike URL – is a sign that the news is fake. Go to the authentic website, compare the URL and see the similarity of the fake news site and the established news site. Strange domain means strange content. Always go for the verified news websites, and not just some copycat.
  • Probe the source – Make sure that the source of the news is done by someone that has a reputation for accuracy. If the organization is unfamiliar, check the “About” section.
  • Unusual formatting – Fake news sites has awkward layouts and misspell words. Authentic news sites are designed by professionals who made it look professional. The format is similar to other legit sites.
  • Look at the photos – False news features manipulated photos or videos that could be taken out of context. Right click the image shown and there will be an option to search Google. Search URL as well. It will show an image search option to know if other news sites are using the same image and what was said about it.
  • Look at other reports – If the news is reported by many sources that you can trust, it is more likely that the news is true.
  • Know the history of the news – Often, fake news are recycled. A news of many years ago can suddenly be current. Click the links and sources to check the date of publication. If the article shows sources from years ago, the news is definitely fake.
  • Check the “Contact Us” page – an authentic news web should give a contact us page so people can reach the site for questions or other concerns. If it does not have a contact us page in it, the more likely it is fake.
  • Beware of biased political news – Fake news often happens during elections. It will publish information that can give advantage to one political party. This skim is used to play on the fears of a specific political party. The fake news is a confirmation of their fear without evaluating the source. This is also known as “confirmation bias.”
  • Check the debunking sites – Websites like FactCheck.org and Snopes can fact-check the fake news articles and report their authenticity. This site have the resources to investigate and give an unbiased result of the news.

When we assess news, be a critical reader.  Do not let fake news anger or shock you. When in doubt, refer to any debunking website, research, and make your own assessment.