Fake news has become somewhat of a trend, and it comes in different forms ranging from misquoted information to completely false stories. The spectrum of less than credible news goes all the way from social media sites to major Television publications. It is often due to poorly researched work or simply a tact to increase traffic to a certain website. While this may seem like all fun and games, circulation of fake news can have very negative effects. As much as it is the responsibility of websites and publications to ensure they circulate credible information, you can also do your part to spot fake news.
Check for reputable sources
Some news sources are known to often circulate questionable information. Before you react to a story, check to see who has posted the information. To be completely sure, simply google the news headline on your browser. Top credible news sources will appear at the top. Be it in business, lifestyle, politics etc.
Major news publications have categories for each of these topics and are always at the top of breaking news. However, to be on the safe side, dig a little deeper. If all credible news sites list the same source for their news, you can never be too sure. Look for a credible news source that had done its own research on the story to ensure the story is accurate.
Be on the lookout for small details
A credible news piece has things such as quotes from the speakers involved. There is also a reasonable amount of information provided. A one-line article accompanied by a picture shows the reporter or writer did not do their research as required. Check on small details such as dates, numbers or quoting of previous information. These details may seem negligible but are important in the overall credibility of the story. Additionally, credible news sources also give both sides to a story. They do not seem biased to one side.
We have all seen these headlines. They are somewhat inaccurate and exaggerated to seem enticing so that people may be interested. We know them better as click bait. As much as click bait is not basically fake news, it fuels the spread of fake news. Read through those headlines and if they seem too outlandish or outrageous, think twice.
News pieces are not based on hearsay or our own beliefs. They are based on verified facts. For websites that do not go to the ground to verify the news, they link sources to the news piece. Click on those links to see if the information is legitimate. Some websites just use links that lead nowhere so their pieces seem credible at face value.
Is it a joke?
Some information is originally meant to be a joke. However as people share it, they may misread it and misconstrue its meaning. Before you react to it, ensure that you are not reacting to what was intended to be satire. Do not be influenced by people’s beliefs and mindset. Read news with an open mind and react based on your research and your own belief system.