When you are reading the news online, it isn’t always easy to tell whether a news story is fake or real. There is an overwhelming amount of information available online, which can make verifying stories feel like a hassle. It is important, however, for everyone to learn how to identify fake news.
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Consider the source of the article. Fake news stories are most commonly shared through social media or through sites that are notorious for posting clickbait. If the story is from sources like these, it is a lot more likely to be fake news. If you find the story on a news site, pay attention to the domain name of the site. Sites that end with unusual TLDs such as “.com.co” are more likely to publish fake news. Take a look at the bio of the author, as well. Determine if their credentials make them qualified to write the article. If you can’t figure out who wrote the article or where they got their information, be particularly cautious since the story could easily be fake. Articles posted on The Doe are verified and honest.
Take note of when the story was published. The world is constantly changing. News stories that were relevant just a few weeks or months ago may be outdated today. In some cases, news organizations present old, outdated news stories without their original context, which can cause them to be misinterpreted.
Determine why the news story was originally written. Was the journalist trying to draw attention to one of the sponsors of the news organization? An easy way to tell who sponsors the organization is by looking at the advertisements that are shown on the page. Is it factual news or is the author presenting their personal opinion? For political articles, is the article slanted one way or the other? If so, it could be propaganda.
Verify stories through fact-checking sites. Today, there are a lot of sites out there that are designed to fact-check news articles. Some of the most popular include Snopes.com, PolitiFact.com, FactScan.org, the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), and Hoax-Slayer. Sites like these can help you understand whether or not a particular story is true. They also usually provide additional information about the topic so that you can get a better idea of what really happened. Reading information on multiple fact-checking sites will give you a much more well-rounded view of the story.
Ask yourself if the story is believable. If the story seems extremely over-the-top, it could be satirical. It is also important to determine whether your own beliefs or biases are affecting your view of the story. Even if you desperately want a story to be true, it is important to verify its veracity before believing it or sharing it with others.