September 6, 2017
Everyone is on Facebook nowadays, and if you are one of those who constantly checks their wall for updates on what is happening in the world today, you are more than likely to see lots of news that may seem very disturbing or shocking. Relax, take a deep breath, and calm down. Before you start to mourn over your favorite actor’s supposed death or start building a bunker because missiles are heading your way soon, take a good look at the news that is throwing you into a panic. Chances are, what you are reading is fake.
There has been a lot of buzz recently regarding fake news and for very good reasons. People are starting to doubt what is going on around them, and as such, are finding it hard to discern which news is fake and which ones they should believe. This can cause a lot of problems, particularly if some important development is shrugged off by everyone because they think it is irrelevant or untrue, and then it turns out to be real and people end up getting hurt.
How can you tell if what you are reading online is fake or not? Here are some things to look out for:
Check the URL and Domain – one of the telltale signs of fake news can be seen in the URL of the news being shared to others. If you look closely, you will see that sites spreading fake news often have a rather dubious looking URL. More-often-than-not, the URLs that these sites use end with “blogspot” or “blog” or anything else other than .com, .org, .net. Some of these sites will disguise themselves as legitimate news sites by copying the name of news organizations, but the domain name should be a dead giveaway.
Check how the story is written – how the facts are presented in a story will tell you whether or not what you are reading is true or not. Most, if not all, fake news sites tend to exaggerate what they are writing about. Also, if there are few to almost no quotes in a supposed news story, then there is a high probability that it is fake. You should also check for grammatical errors, wrongly spelled words, and other similar indicators that the article is poorly written. These can also tell you that what you are reading may not be entirely true.
It is not covered by other legitimate news sources – when something as breaking as a famous personality dying or a country threatening all-out war is not covered by a reputable news agency, then you should be wary about such things and take these with a grain of salt, so to speak. Always wait for the news to be covered by these reputable news agencies before you believe what you are reading.
Know how to tell satire from real news – there are some very popular sites that tell “news” stories that may seem real, but are actually made up, and these sites often post on their “about us” pages as well as on a disclaimer page that what they are printing is called satire or is supposedly a funny play on real news. This is something a lot of people do not realize and start sharing to others as real news, and even going so far as reacting violently about what was written. Always remember, if something seems too good to be true or is too silly to be real, then it probably is.
Knowing how to discern whether what you are reading is real or not can save you from spreading false news and from panicking needlessly. There are a lot of telltale signs as to whether the news a friend is sharing on your Facebook wall is true or not. Just keep an eye out with the help of these tips and you won’t fall victim to false news again.