How Can You Tell if News is Fake?

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How Can You Tell if News is Fake?

(Stuart Carlson, via gocomics.com)

(Stuart Carlson, via gocomics.com)

(Stuart Carlson, via gocomics.com)

(Stuart Carlson, via gocomics.com)

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Since the beginning of human history people have had news to share.  What is news?  How does shared information affect a democracy?  In the wake of the 2016 election there is an increasing amount of attention directed at the idea and influence of fake news.  How can you tell if news is fake?

facebook-fake-news-chart

Why is this question more important than ever to be able to answer?

Now a days, with the election and other important political issues, its important to know that the news you’re watching/listening to is real. Melissa Zimdars, a communications and media professor at Merrimack College, started looking into how to spot fake news when she encountered a fake story on Google News; it was one of the top stories that week.  The news stories were being spread from a fake website.  The access to online publishing by the ordinary democratic citizen is an important right but it must be done responsibly.

Tips from Zimdars on How To Spot Fake News:

  1. Stay away from sites with suspicious-looking web addresses, like those ending in .lo or .co.com.
  2. Pay attention to the article’s author. If there’s no byline on a story, or there is only one author for every post on the entire website, watch out. It may be an imposter.
  3. Be wary of news sites that host bloggers without any clear editorial or fact-checking process.
  4. Check if there’s an “about me” section on the website. This makes it easier to spot whether the news source is legitimate.
  5. Get your news from a variety of places. The best way to ensure that you’re not scammed by fake news is to read from a diverse array of news sources, and not just what pops up on a Facebook feed.
  6. To learn more about the significance of knowing if news is real or fake, visit: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/five-tips-how-spot-fake-news-online-n687226

One of the most well known “fake” stories that seems to have had serious consequences involves Hilary Clinton and her former campaign manager claiming that they were running a children’s sex ring in the pizzeria, Comet Ping Pong, in D.C.  Trump supporters took this claim to social media, making headlines.  Many people were affected by this negative news and it is likely it contributed to the negative view of Clinton.  What does fake news do to a democracy?  It is a threat to the value of Truth and Justice.

 

Check out this article explaining an example of a fake news article/report and how dangerous that can be: http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/12/5/13842258/pizzagate-comet-ping-pong-fake-news

National Public Media has also spoken out on this important issue.