Fake news is taking over social media and no one can identify what is real and what is fake. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, are all popular social media sites that have news and personal information on them. News is a huge part of social media. Fake news is coming up more and more through our “timelines” on Facebook or people “sharing” whatever the headline says. Fake news is becoming so popular in social media because that is where a lot people get their information today, not through the newspaper or radio or television anymore. It is leading to incorrect information and facts about almost anything.
Sharing something now must take more effort than just clicking “share” because you read the headline or liked what the headline had to say. When your news is always coming from social media there are many things that you can do to assure yourself that what you are reading or going to share are accurate. More than 30% of news on social media is viewed more than once a day. Almost 26% of people do not know if the news that they are reading is fake or real. Do you constantly want to see fake news in social media?! If not, then check out these 7 ways to identify fake news on social media.
1. READ BEYOND THE HEADLINE
With a title and some catchy phrases doesn’t mean the article has any backing behind it may not be true at all. You must read beyond the headline to know what the article is saying. Even in legitimate news stories, the headline doesn’t always tell the whole story. This headline will tell you about the article but it doesn’t mean anything about the article is going to be true.
2. CHECK THE COMMENTS
No matter what there will always be someone that will have something to say about what is being published or skewed across the internet. Social media has so many articles that are shared, copied or posted throughout the day. Checking the comments to see what other people are posting can give you a good idea as well on if something is true or not true. Comments will show you other people’s opinions about the topic and if they believe the topic or shared post is the same or not.
3. CONSIDER THE SOURCES
Sources are important, double check the sources by clicking the links or copying the URL to a new page to see where it takes you. Some pages may be similar to the actual URL that no one is able to see the differences between sites. Checking from what source the article is coming from will show how real the webpage. Further signs may come from missing information, no contact information or staff members or a physical location can all mean that this is not a legitimate organization.
4. CHECK THE DATES
Dates are something that is very important. Checking the date means you’ve read more than the headline to decipher if the article is real. Fake news has a long history. The date can determine everything. New news will not have incorrect dates. Checking dates is another example of what can help to detect what is true when speaking about a certain article.
5. CHECK THE BIASES
This is probably the most difficult, removing your own biases from the article and the news that is being reported. This has a lot to do with political posts because that is where people have the most opinions. Confirming bias leads to put more of information into confirming their beliefs and discounts the information that doesn’t agree with certain beliefs. Take a moment to check the article and pull away from your opinion. Doing this will show what is true and not true.
6. BEWARE OF EXTRAVAGANCE
Everyone make ideas, words, or theories up all the time. Extravagance is something that will show how real the article is. When something that is being read sounds fake or you’re having a hard time believing it yourself, it leads to extravagance. Some extra interesting information was added to draw your attention and get you to believe in the article or post that was being shared. Extravagance happens a lot through social media because you can say almost anything you want without consequences. The information will get shared and more people will see it. Something can be added making the post or article seem more interesting and bizarre than it is to get a rise or people interested.
7. CHECK ANOTHER WEBSITE
If the information that you are reading about is so important then check another website and compare the data, if there is any, on what the truth is. Just because something is posted on social media it doesn’t mean it has any criteria to be a real article. You must confirm the sources and check websites for data to make sure what you are sharing is correct.
As 2016 closed, the term ‘Fake News’ was in stories by many mainstream media outlets and enhanced throughout social media. Reporting on stories that had no support and figuring out made-up stories became so accepted as part of daily lives. It was the latest, but certainly not the first tussle between ‘real’ journalism and lies dressed up to look like it. These steps can help to take fake news off the social media platform so the relevant news will shine through.