In this blog post you will learn essential tips of how to spot fake news online. Discover fact checking strategies to navigate information on the web.
The internet offers a wealth of information and resources, but not all sources are trustworthy. While technological advances have allowed news and information to be accessible to anyone with internet access, how can we determine if this news is unbiased or if the writer has done the necessary research? How can we confirm whether it is true?
Verify the URL
Verifying the source of an article is an essential step in ensuring its credibility. Examining the domain, which refers to the web page’s location on the internet, is a crucial part of this process. Dishonest individuals and scammers often employ deceptive tactics by using subtle variations and misspellings of well-known domain names.
For example, the site may use .net instead of .com, or .gov. Additionally, they may rearrange the company name in the URL, creating a misleading impression. For instance, a website like USNews.newsarticle.com may deceive readers into thinking it is related to the legitimate USNews.com, when in fact it is not.
These tactics are intended to trick consumers into believing that the source is reliable. Therefore, it is important to be vigilant and cautious when examining the source of an article. Taking the time to investigate the domain and ensure its legitimacy can help prevent the spread of false information and protect you from scams.
- Subtle misspellings
- Inconsistent extensions – a government website should typically end in .gov
- Can you determine who owns a website – does it include an About us, or Contact us page?
Verify the Information
Now that you know what site is providing the information, you can check to make sure that you should trust the facts.
There are well established websites that fact check information online. If you have any reason to doubt the information, you can check it out at these free fact checking websites.
- Politifact- www.politifact.com
- FactCheck.org- https://www.factcheck.org
- Duke Reporters Lab – https://reporterslab.org/fact-checking/
Other Clues of Fake News
Are there other websites that have this same information? Search for the exact information and see where it turns up.
Statistics are used in many ways. Drill down to learn where they come from. How many people were in the sample? What questions were asked?
Wikipedia is a very convenient source for information. However, remember, the site is created and edited by anyone at any time. It is not always correct. Over time most inaccurate information is corrected, but verify what you are reading.
- Assess the website quality: Fake news is often associated with low quality websites that prioritize clicks for ad revenue.
- Scrutinize the headline: Fake news headlines tend to be sensationalistic and exaggerated, using shocking statements to lure in readers.
- Go beyond the headline: Take the time to read the entire article or content piece.
- Analyze the language and tone: Fake news often uses hype, exaggeration, or provocative language to provoke strong emotions curiosity, instead of relaying the facts.
- Look for supporting evidence: Fake news and deceptive articles typically lack reliable sources, references, or evidence to support their claims. Genuine news articles, on the other hand, provide concrete facts and credible sources.
- How many clicks does it take to get to the actual information? The more clicks involved, the more likely that the article is driven by ad revenue. It will not necessarily be false information, but a bias is more likely to draw people in.
Be mindful of these indicators to better identify fake news and make informed decisions about the content you consume and share.
It can be hard to spot fake news online, but using these tips and tricks you can feel assured that what you’re reading is accurate.
If you would like help learning to spot fake news online, just call or email and we’ll be happy to assist you! If you have specific questions, or if our terminology isn’t clear, please use our contact form to send us a message. Thank you!