Note: This was featured as part of our Web Wednesday segment on Charleston’s 105.5 The Bridge with Box in the Morning. You can catch us every Wednesday morning at 8:20 am ET for your dose of social media & digital marketing news. You can listen to the segment below:
It is so easy for someone to create their own blog or website and start pumping out any type of content they want. While this can be great news for an aspiring blogger, it also means that fake news sites have been running rampant. I’m sure you’ve all seen it before: one of those incredibly emotionally evoking articles that make you think, “Wow, how can this be true?”
Most of the time, it actually isn’t. These fake news sites have capitalized on tugging on its readers’ emotions with seriously troubling news that has been completely fabricated. Because so many critics have suggested that these fake news sites (and the social networks they were spread on) have had such a huge hand in shaping politics over the last year, Facebook is trying to do something about it.
You may have seen this alert at the top of your Facebook news feed recently. The social media giant has been giving all of its users tips on how to decipher between real news and fake news to help decrease the virality of these faux news articles. Here are a few ways to tell if an article has been made up:
Be skeptical of headlines. Even some real articles can have inflamed headlines that give an inaccurate depiction of what’s inside.
Look carefully at the URL. Some fake news sites will create a URL that looks extremely close to a legitimate news source to try to fool users.
Explore the website. Check the About page to see if it’s a satirical website, and pay attention to the website design. It should be easy to tell if it was a thrown-together blog format.
Check the photos in the articles. Make sure the dates are recent and that the photos are relevant to the article.
Check the author’s sources. What websites is this author linking to? Do they seem reputable?
Do a quick search to see if other websites are talking about it. If this seems like a big deal to you and no one else is talking about it, it’s probably not true. If it’s an accurate breaking news story, it will be everywhere. We also like to check Facebook’s trending topics to see what’s being talked about.
Make sure you do each of these things before sharing the article so that you know you’re sharing a legitimate news story.