Just because it’s on the web doesn’t make it correct . It seems so simple, but if everybody knew that, Facebook and Google wouldn’t have to pull bogus news sites from their advertising algorithms and people wouldn’t breathlessly share stories that will claim Donald Trump is a secret lizard person or Hillary Clinton is an google android in a pantsuit.
This doesn’t have to be in this way. Fake news can be in fact really easy to spot – once you learn how. Consider this your brand-new Media Literacy Guidebook.
NOTE: As we put this together, we sought the input of two communications professionals: Dr . Melissa Zimdars , an associate teacher at Merrimack College in Massachusetts whose dynamic list of unreliable news sites has gone viral, and Alexios Mantzarlis , the head of the Global Fact-Checking Network at the Poynter Company.
First, know the various kinds of misleading and false news
1 . Fake news
2 . Misleading news
three or more. Highly partisan information
Second, hone your fact-checking skills
To begin with, here are 10 questions you should ask when something looks fake:
1 . Does the story come from a strange URL?
Zimdars says sites with strange suffixes like “. co” or “. su, ” or that are hosted by third party platforms such as WordPress should raise a red flag. Several fake sites, like National Report, have legitimate-sounding, if not overly general names that may easily trick individuals on social websites. For instance, several artificial reports from abcnews. com. co possess gone viral prior to being debunked, including a June write-up that claimed Leader Obama signed a good order banning strike weapon sales.
second . Does the topic match the information within the article?
Mantzarlis says one of the biggest reasons bogus news propagates on Facebook is really because people get sucked in by a heading and don’t bother to click through .
Just this week, many dubious organizations distributed a story about Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi. “Pepsi STOCK Plummets After CEO Shows Trump Supporters to ‘Take Their Company Elsewhere’, ” trumpeted one such headline.
However , the articles by themselves didn’t contain that will quote nor evidence that Pepsi’s share saw a significant drop (it didn’t). Nooyi did make documented comments about Trump’s election, but was never cited informing his supporters in order to “take their company elsewhere. ”
a few. Is it a recent story, or an old one which has been re-purposed?
Sometimes legitimate news tales can be twisted plus resurrected years after the fact to create a false conflation of events. Mantzarlis recalls an erroneous story that actually mentioned a legitimate piece of information from CNNMoney.
A blog called Virus-like Liberty recently documented that Ford experienced moved production associated with some of their trucks from Mexico to Kansas because of Donald Trump’s election win. The story quickly caught fire online – after all, it seemed like a great win for the household auto industry.
It turns out, Ford did move some manufacturing from Mexico to Ohio – in 2015 . It had nothing to do with the selection results at all.
4. Are the supporting movies or photos verifiable?
Photos and videos may also be removed from context to support a fake claim. In Apr, the liberal site Occupy Democrats submitted a video that allegedly showed a young female getting removed from your bathroom by police because of not looking feminine sufficient. This was during the elevation of the HB2 “bathroom bill” controversy, and the article clearly linked the two. “IT STARTS, ” read the subject.
However , there was no date on the movie or evidence that it was shot in New york, where the “bathroom bill” was to be handed down.
In fact , according to Snopes , the same video was published to a Fb page in 2015, meaning it predated the HB2 debate.
5. Does the article cite primary sources?
It’s not simply political news that can be bogus. Now8News is among the most infamous fake-but-looks-real site, specializing in the kind of weird news stories that often go viral.
One such article states Coca-Cola recalled Dasani water bottles following a “clear parasite” has been found in the water. There was clearly even an associated gross-out picture that will allegedly showed the particular parasite, though some basic Googling reveals it is most likely a photo of a younger eel .
Regardless, the article had no declaration or claim through any company . Clearly this would be a big tale. Dasani or any number of consumer advocacy organizations would publish statements or news produces about it, right? You can find none to be found – because the story is certainly 100% fake.
6. Does the story feature quotes, and are they will traceable?
A popular meme of Generous Facebook groups includes a fake quote through Donald Trump that is allegedly from a People Magazine interview in 1998:
“If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything upon Fox News. I really could lie and they’d still eat up. I bet our numbers would be terrific. ”
This one is easily debunked if you take even a moment to consider it : Individuals. com has comprehensive archives, and this quote will be nowhere to be found in them.
seven. Is it the only wall plug reporting the story?
In this election season, Pope Francis was pulled into three super viral, and totally false, stories. Based on various (fake) web sites, the Pope supported three US Presidential candidates: First, Bernie Sanders, as “reported” by National Document and USAToday. possuindo. co. Then, Jesse Trump, as “reported” by fake news site WTOE 5 News. Finally, one more fake news site KYPO6. com documented he had endorsed Hillary Clinton!
In all of the instances, subsequent reviews all circled returning to the fake ones. It’s always great to trace a story back to the original source , and if you find yourself in the loop – or if they all prospect back to the same suspicious site – you might have reason to question.
8. Is your personal bias getting in the way in which?
Both Zimdars and Mantzarlis say verification bias is a huge reason fake news speads like it does. Some of that is built into Facebook’s algorithm – the greater you like or interact with a certain interest, the greater Facebook will show you associated with that interest.
Similarly, if you hate Jesse Trump, you are more likely to think negative stories about Donald Trump are true, even if there is no evidence.
“We seek out information that will already fits with our established beliefs, ” says Zimdars. “If we come into contact with details we don’t concur with, it still may reaffirm us because we will attempt to find faults. ”
If you find an outrageous article that seems “too good to become true, ” be careful: It just might become.
9. Has it already been debunked by a trustworthy fact-checking organization?
Do you realize there is actually an Worldwide Fact-Checking Network (which Mantzarlis leads)? And that it has a code associated with principles? The program code includes the values of nonpartisanship plus transparency, among others. Sites like FactCheck. org, Snopes and Politifact abide by this code, so if you see a debunking there, you know you’re having the real deal . View the entire list here .
10. Is the host on a list of unreliable news websites?
This is where details can get tricky . There’s obviously a huge difference between “misleading” news, which is usually located in fact, and “fake” news, which is just fiction disguised since fact. Zimdars’ now-famous list addresses both kinds, along with satire and sites that capitalize on clickbait-type headlines. Snopes furthermore maintains a list .
While Zimdars is certainly glad her list has gotten so much attention, she also cautions that completely writng off a few of the sites as “fake” is not accurate. “I want to make sure this list doesn’t perform a great disservice to the ultimate goal, ” she says. “It’s interesting that some of the headlines [about my list] are just as hyperbolic as the types I am analyzing. ”