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How to Spot Fake News

How to Spot Fake News

How to Spot Fake News

In a nutshell, news is defined as accurate information written in a specific format for the public. “Fake news”, on the other hand, is a contradictory phrase. It aims to mis- and disinform people to make them believe lies. “Fake news” peddlers aim to dissuade people into accepting a different yet false view. “Fake news” can downplay conflict, sometimes arousing unnecessary hysteria. Here are some tips to spot “fake news” articles and whatnot.

Check the details of the “fake news” material.

Be mindful of the article date, the hyperlink, and the image used. Check the site where the article was found. Does it bear the name of a news publication or a trustworthy organization? If not, it is more or less likely to be fake. “Fake news” hyperlinks are often bedridden with bad grammar. They commonly use blog posts or other easily accessible and free websites. Facebook pages with political affiliations often upload links to malicious news, which is very risky considering their one-sided approach to politics. You can also fact-check images through the reverse image search in Google, or with duplicate image detectors on the internet like Tin Eye.

How to Spot Fake News 1

Check the byline and sources.

The byline refers to the author of the article, commonly placed under the title, headline, or after the article. It exists to ensure accountability on the part of the writer. If the suspected article does not contain a byline, it adds suspicion to its authenticity and trustworthiness. It means that anyone could have written it who possibly has a bunch of derogatory claims. The source used in the article is also important. For example, the suspected article quoted an influential person about a certain issue. You can check the person’s verified social media accounts, their recent interviews, or if they informed the public that they did not make such statements. Through “fake news” articles, this tactic disgraces a person’s name or taints their reputation.

To spot “fake news”, check the grammar and the consistency of the article’s message.

Most “fake news” articles have grammatical errors, from simple capitalization lapses to subject-verb agreement violations. Ask yourself how the article was written. Is it in a tabloid-like style or a full-fledged news format? Pay close attention to the coherence of the ideas and the article’s stance. Is it consistent? Does it contradict itself in any way? Did the sentences seem too hazy to even comprehend?

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Check the validity of the details within the article, and the information embedded in it.

As they say, the devil lies in the details. “Fake news” peddlers may mislabel someone unknown as a government official. They might mix up the dates and the spelling of names. These details can be fact-checked. It also helps to check if the article is based solely on fact or opinion. Editorials contain a healthy bit of opinion but they are backed up by facts. “Fake news” articles are mostly opinionated pieces that don’t have any hint of factual support. That’s a big red flag right there.

How to Spot Fake News 2

In spotting “fake news”, try to multi-source.

The last tip is to find other credible news sites and organizations that also reported that particular issue. In other words, multi-sourcing. In journalism, there is a practice referred to as “The Rule of 3”. Based on the Rule of Three, one must have at least three (3) independent sources referenced for support. This rule also applies to checking the authenticity of the claims among the journalist’s informants. Upon multi-sourcing, you may double-check the given information and the real context behind the news. Through multi-sourcing, you also educate yourself while proving a “fake news” article wrong. You unconsciously train yourself to be news literate. That’s quite a start but the fight doesn’t end there. The “fake news” industry progressed. Even governments use “fake news” to promote self-interest and criminalize dissent.

Because of this, differentiating “fake news” has become a social responsibility. Once a person knows the difference between “fake news” from real ones, they can now warn others that the article is misleading. Doing so gives them the power to create change by sharing accurate information. Truth, in its purest sense, can be downright unsettling at times, but people have the right to know it, however bland or horrific it may be. Want to read more articles like this? Click here.

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