20 Aug How To Spot Fake News Like A Pro
Studies show that a majority of Americans have a hard time distinguishing fake and real news online.
While some fake news are easy to spot, many websites intentionally publish false content and try to pass them off as real. Because of the rapid spread of fake news, a lot of people are ironically misinformed in this age of information. And because it’s so easy to click the share button and turn fake news into viral content, you might be guilty of spreading false information without even knowing it.
With plenty of fake news websites out there, you should be more careful and vigilant in sharing content on your social media accounts. Here are 5 tips to help you spot fake news like a pro.
It’s politically biased.
You will rarely read fake news with an objective standpoint so if you come across heavily biased content that is pushing for a specific agenda, it’s best to keep your guard up. Try reading the headline multiple times to check if you find yourself taking sides. Fake news is one of the tools that political extremists use to plant fear and/or hate in the general public. If a piece of news is clearly trying to fueling conflict to divide different groups in society, you can be sure that it’s fake.
The source has a reputation of being shady.
With certain sources having the reputation of being unreliable, an easy way to check if the news is legitimate or not is to see where it was first published. For example, websites with strange domains should be avoided, as well as websites that are relatively new. If you’re not sure about a source, browse around the website to check its other news articles and headlines. If the source features a hodgepodge of incredulous news stories, that’s your warning to approach the website with caution.
You first read about it on social media.
One way to figure out if a piece of content is fake is to check if reputable news sites are covering it. If you’re only reading about it on social media and sites like the New York Times, the Washington Post, BBC, or CNN aren’t covering it, then that news is unlikely to be true.
But even if the big credible websites are running the news, prepare to dig a little deeper and check their sources. There are times when even the big websites get duped into publishing fake news.
It’s emotionally charged.
Do you feel angry or fearful after reading a piece of content online? If a particular piece of news is leaving you emotionally charged (and not in a good way) then make sure you think twice before believing what you read. Fake news stories are purposely written to tap into your emotions so that you don’t process the information with your brain. This then leads to a social mass hysteria wherein people automatically share the news even if it doesn’t make any sense. If you start to feel negative emotions over a ridiculous piece of content, take a few minutes to reevaluate what you’ve just read.
If it’s too crazy to be true, it’s most probably fake.
If your instinct tells you that a piece of content is too crazy or ridiculous to be true, then you can bet that it’s fake news. Clickbait content are articles that are written in a way to make you want to click on them because they’re not just entertaining; they’re also intriguing. Most websites are not ashamed to admit that they come up with crazy headlines to get clicks because the more viral the content, the more profit they earn. If you can’t help but click on a crazy headline, make sure that you read the article critically before you decide if it’s worth sharing to your followers.