Fake news has been in the “real news” lately. How do we tell the difference between the two?
There’s a difference between fake news and news with a bias. News with a bias is presenting the news through a particular lens or filter. Fake news is news that is fabricated to generate “clicks” by writing stories that go viral.
What are some ways you can become a more careful reader of the news (or help your family members do the same?)
Librarian Joyce Valenza has some great suggestions!
- Check the URL. Is it a real one or does it just look “similar” to a real site?
- Just using Google may not help. Fake news stories spread like wildfire, so just using Google to decide may not help.
- “Suspect the sensational.” If it appears to be outlandish, it is possibly untrue. Be skeptical. Check it against several well known mainstream news sources to see if they are reporting the story also. Conspiracy stories often are often used as “click bait” to get users to a site for money making purposes.
- Verify the story. Check Snopes.com or Factcheck.org to see if they are flagging this story as false.
- Decide if this story has a built in bias. Does it seem aimed at readers with a particular view point? This might indicate a fake news story, or it might just be a biased story. Again, look at the url or “about” page.
- Go back to the original. If a news story mentions a study or a poll, try to find the original yourself. Did that study have a bias? Does it even exist? Is it from a recognized reputable source?
- Think before you RT or “Share.” Did you do take any of the steps above first? Don’t spread fake news yourself!
When you share more reliable stories, you appear more reliable to others! You can help stop fake news in its track by pointing it out to others or refusing to reshare it.
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