7 simple steps to spot fake news

Woman on cellphone. (Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)
Woman on cellphone. (Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)

Fake news is nothing new.

Despite its increasing notoriety thanks to US president Donald Trump, this phenomenon has been around since the early days of print media.

According to webwise, fake news is news created to deliberately deceive or misinform readers.

Some news articles are easier to spot as fake news than others. Here are some tips to help you distinguish fact from fiction.

1. Check the publisher’s credibility

Just because a site is popular doesn’t mean its content is accurate. Check the site’s domain name and make sure to read the “About Us” section for more insight into the publisher.

2. Pay attention to sloppy writing

If you see a news article riddled with spelling errors and dramatic punctuation, you’re probably reading a fake news article. Reputable news sites have copy editors that check for these mistakes before publication.

3. Are other news outlets reporting on the story?

If the answer is no then the story is probably untrue or hasn’t been verified yet. Most reputable news sites usually will report on the same story if it has merit. Therefore there should be multiple stories on the subject.

4. Visit a fact-checking website

Take a look at sites like Factcheck.org and Snopes.com to determine whether the story is fake news or not.

5. Are there quotes?

If you notice a lack of quotes and contributing sources then chances are it’s fake news. Credible journalism should always demonstrate to readers it’s researched the story by gathering facts.

6. Has this news site published other preposterous stories?

Do a quick scan of some of the headlines and introductory paragraphs of other stories on the site. This will give you a good indication as to whether the site is credible or not.

7. Is the story just a little too odd?

Be careful of stories that tend to raise eyebrows. Often fake news sites use this tactic to get people to read and share the story.

Sources: webwise, summer.harvard.edu, freedomforuminstitute.org

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