Remember in high school when your English teacher banned citing Wikipedia as a source because anyone could log on and alter its content? That sentiment is basically the concept of a fake news story, except in 2016 the imminent rise of shared fake news erupted into countless Facebook feuds and erroneous candidate bashing.
“There are more of these sites now because there’s an awareness that people can create fake news sites and make money from the ads,” explained Claire Wardle, an expert from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism. “A few years ago, we were mostly dealing with people who were misinformed, but not malicious.”
So what exactly is fake news? Any article deliberately used to manipulate your opinion and gain maximum attention by resembling actual news sites (usually leading with sensationalized headlines like “Taylor Swift Votes for Donald Trump”) and is then laced into your social media feed is considered fake news. Twitter, Facebook and Google have agreed to make an effort to halt these stories before they even reach your newsfeed but there is no way to completely block all of them. So how can you tell if a story is real and OK to share with your friends? We listed a few pointers before you post that next political piece.
Check the URL
Steer clear from sites ending in .lo or .co and double check the spelling of the URL.
Check out the image
Drag the image into Google Images to see if it checks out.
If you see a major headline on one website but can’t find it on a more reputable site, it’s probably fake.
Check its sources
Most fake news articles don’t cite any sources whatsoever. If there is no claim from a company or publication, don’t be fooled by the click bait!
Don’t let your bias get in the way
Even if you wish an article is true, it doesn’t mean it is. Sharing untrue stories helps no one.