2016 seemed to be the year of fake news. Between elections, major news events, and the usual paparazzi style coverage of celebrities, online fake news swirled and caught on like wild fires. While many people blame fake news to be the reason some events had a different outcome, others are trying to identify how fake news is becoming more omnipresent and put a stop to it. Here are some helpful tips when you think you have encountered fake news.
Confirm you are reading legitimate news sources
How can you be so sure the sites you are reading are in fact real news? Since the internet allows anyone to buy a domain name available, there are many scammy, click-bait style sites that appear to be a real news network like NBC, CNN, CBS. Look closely at the site that you may have found via Facebook or another social sharing platform. Does it end in a .le or .lo? Chances are high it’s a fake news site
Are these sites legitimate?
So what determines if news is fake or just exaggerated? Many of the sites that are in suspicion write wild headlines in order for you to click, share, and continue the vicious cycle. Some sites are more biased and left or right leaning, while others are satirical news sites that may not do a good enough job of explaining the content is satire to begin with.
What the next step should be
If you are an editor or writer for a news publication, it is important to always track where your previously written content is now appearing. Some fake news sites are specifically lifting passages or whole articles and changing a few lines. Scanning for plagiarism is the most important step in confronting fake news.
While fake news will take time to combat and verify as legitimate news sources, educating yourself on how to know the difference between fake and real news will help all parties in the future.