Do you sometimes see a story on social media which you have to question to be true or fake news?
As you may have heard, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, are trying their best to combat fake news being shared across their social networks.
What is fake news and how can you tell if a post is real or fake?
Fake news is exactly what it says on the tin; a news story that is fake.
The posts/stories can be about anything; weather (We bet you’ve all seen the ‘Britain suffers the coldest winter ever’ story, every December for the past couple of years), celebrity deaths, world events, etc. Whatever the story may be, it can easily be mistaken to be a real story which is then shared across social media for others to see.
However, as easy as it is to believe one of these posts, it is just as easy to spot a fake news post by looking out for some key features:
Have you ever heard of the source which the article is posted on? Do a quick search and figure out if the source is trustworthy or not. Have a look at what information the site provides and do they have legitimate contact details.
Seem too good to be true? That’s probably because it is! If you spot a headline which makes you think ‘is that true?’, type the headline into a search engine to see if any other sources have posted about the same subject.
Unusual URL Link
Similar to spam emails and checking the email address, the best way to recognise if a news story is true or fake, is to look at the URL. Sometimes fake news sources will use a URL that looks similar to a legitimate one, so check for mistakes or unusual formatting within the URL.
Out of Date
As mentioned before, we bet you’ve all seen the ‘Britain suffers the coldest winter ever’ right? Stories like this tend to be shared around the same time each year, but will always have the same date. Before reading a news article, just check the date before you read and share it.
Fake news reports are usually written in a poor format. They tend to have spelling mistakes, missing grammar and sometimes even the way the report is laid out can appear to look slightly strange.
Think you’ve seen an image before but to a different news article? It’s more than likely that this is the case. Fake news stories don’t tend to have their own imagery, so they use images that already exist but use them in a different context. Some images may also be edited to fit the fake news article.
If you’ve never heard of the author of the article, do a quick search to see if they have written anything else that is credible.
Hoax or Humour
Can’t tell if the story is a hoax or for humour? Again, do a quick search of the source and see whether or not it is known for publishing humorous articles.
As much as the social media networks are trying to limit the spread of fake news, we are the ones who share these articles, so it is our responsibility to double check an article before sharing it with our followers!