The old saying is there’s a sucker born every minute. With social media sharing, there’s a sucker born every second. And no one wants to be a sucker, right? Read on for tips on spotting a fake news article.
Social media makes it so easy to share false news. Anyone can fall prey to sharing something that isn’t true, but just bit of quick research will keep you from perpetuating a false hood.
Why should you care?
No one wants to share untrue news, and if you are a business owner sharing falsehoods, ultimately it will reflect on you and your judgment if you do it too often. Plus no one wants to be part of putting more ignorance out in the world!
You’d Better Think
A little thoughtfulness will go a long way in catching a fake news article. Take a look at the headline, is it OUTRAGEOUS, UNBELIEVABLE, INFURIATING? Then there is a good chance it’s not true. Remember, false articles rely on hitting your emotional buttons, which makes you more likely to share it. How often have you read a fake headline, had an emotional reaction and hit the share button without even reading it?
Let’s start there.
1. Read the Article: This really a good general habit you should develop before sharing any article. Often times when reading an article you’ll find it’s bad satire or just doesn’t make sense. Go the referring website. If you see lots of ridiculous looking stories, then they are probably fake.
2. Look at the Source: As fashionable as it is to bad mouth the mainstream media today, most of the time articles from well-known sources like the New York Times, CBS, NPR, Fox etc. well-respected magazines, and even your local paper actually are true. (I’m not talking opinion pieces, but straight news articles.) If the article comes from a source you’ve never heard of, it should raise a red flag. If you find an alarming article, do a quick search and see if any legitimate, trustworthy news sources have also picked it up. I will note that even reporters fall for fake stories on occasion!
3. Ask Yourself if it’s Satire: This is a big one. Web publications like The Onion have been around for quite a while, and their articles are very obviously satire. Usually people understand those aren’t 100 percent factual, and even I share Onion articles time to time, tongue in cheek. However, tons of Onion wanna-be’s have popped up and they’re not very good at what they do. Many of the articles are poorly done, or outright attempts to mislead. Some sites make an effort to look very real. Here are few that you may not realize churn out fake news, especially if you get their stories via social media only: The Daily Current, NewsHound.org, World News Daily Report, The Daily Mash, Newslo, Empire Sports.co and The New Yorker’s Borowitz Report are just a few.
4. Fake Article Clues and Examples:Here are a few more clues you can find in an article itself that show it’s probably fake:
Poor spelling and grammar (and questionable source)
5. Read Article comments: Sometimes when I’m really not sure if something is fake, but have an inkling that it is, I’ll read a few of the comments. If it’s satire, usually someone will say that it is, while letting everyone else know how dumb they were for believing it. 🙂
6. Check Dead Celebs: Dead celebrity articles get a lot of traction nowadays, which I find weird, but it’s a part of social media. Many of those fake death articles come from this site Fake A Wish . It allows people to create fake death notices. (I don’t get it, but it’s there.) Here’s a fake Will Smith death article you’ve probably seen. Note the source: Global Associated News. Any death notice you see with that header is FAKE!
6. Google It: Type the Article headline and HOAX and see what comes up.
7. Snopes It: Snopes is the PREMIER site for spotting web and email hoaxes. A quick Snopes search will turn up almost any popular hoax article.
All of us get tricked every once and a while. So, if you do post something and find out it’s untrue, let people know, then delete the article from your social site. Now, go forth into the social media world armed with new knowledge!