September 20, 2017

Tips on How to Spot Fake News Online

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  • Fake news articles are becoming rampant online nowadays.

    Some people just deliberately share false information without even checking it. Sometimes, it’s just an honest mistake. Although it may seem insignificant to other readers, it can do harm and cause paranoia to a lot of people.

    IMAGE Pexels

    Despite the fact that we cannot stop people from creating fake news, there are tips that we can use to detect these false stories and prevent it to spread like wildfire. Let’s help stop fake news and learn to use social media wisely!

    1. Consider the source

    Before sharing information, it is important to check first the sources of the news. Is it a reliable website? There are only quite a number of credible websites or news organizations in the country who have a pool or reporters and researchers conducting investigations and research to come up with an extensive story.  It is crucial to inspect whether the news source is reliable by going to their website and checking their content, About Us page, and if there is contact information available.

    Read: List of Credible Websites in PH that you should know of

    1. Read Beyond

    Before sharing, read the full news article first. Don’t be fooled by clickbait headlines—those that entice you to click on it by using “shocking” headlines for more reader traffic. Fake news websites usually do this intentionally to make people click their article, thus, more page views. Don’t just read the headline.

    IMAGE Pexels

    1. Check the author

    If you have read the article and couldn’t tell if it’s false information, one way to fact-check would be to see who wrote it. A lot of website articles have bylines which give the author’s name and the article’s date of publication. Is he/she a legitimate news researcher? If bylines are not available or if these authors claim to be “anonymous,” the news is most likely to be fake.

    1. Supporting Source

    One of the essential rules of journalism is to cross-check facts. Check the news’ sources which the author used to create his/her story. It is important to have various reliable sources to make up a story, so check the links that the author provided for additional references.

    1. Check the date

    Some news, although they are supported by facts, can be considered as “fake” if it is not timely. One example would be resurfacing old stories, which may have been true in its published date but are not accurate at present.

    IMAGE Pexels

    1. Is it a joke?

    If it’s too good to be true, then it most likely is. Anything that seems bizarre and made by unreliable websites without supporting documents could be a hoax. Otherwise, it could have been reported by several news sources not only online, but in other media such as radio, TV, and print as well.

    1. Check your biases

    Just because the news is not in line with your beliefs does not automatically mean it’s wrong. When confirmation bias gets in the way, it’s easy to label something as a hoax without a doubt. Same goes for those who think the information is true if it favors their biases. To avoid confirmation bias, it would be best to consider other people’s point of view.

    1. Ask the experts

    If all else fails, the best thing to do is to ask. As an expat, living in an unfamiliar place can be quite confusing, as it will be hard to determine what’s true or not. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. In social media, some news outlets and government agencies respond to netizens’ queries. It’s always better to ask than assume!

    Hope these helpful tips can help you detect fake news in social media!


    Source: Infographic by IFLA

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