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How to identify and eliminate fake news stories

Internet / Technology

Jessie Clarke-Mcleod
June 28, 2018


How to identify and eliminate fake news stories

Unfortunately fake news isn’t fake. It’s real and it can do a lot of damage.

You have the power to control what kind of news gets shared in your network.
This article will help you identify and eliminate fake news stories from your online circles.

The first tip for identifying fake news is to analyse the headline. If the headline is sensationalist or appears to be heavily biased toward a viewpoint treat the article with caution. Secondly take note of the URL’s used for a site. A lot of the time fake news platforms will try and imitate the URL or domain names of more reputable sites.  For example, a fake news site may alter a domain name like to Furthermore, news posted on blogs with domains that end in may not be the most reliable source of news.

Another tip for determining whether a news story is credible is to look at the number of sources listed. A news story that contains little to no sources but makes outrageous claims is most likely unreliable. Furthermore, anonymous sources should be treated with care. Ask yourself why the source is unwilling to put their name behind what they are saying.

A great idea in exposing fake news is to do a little research. Go onto Google and Facebook and search keywords, phrases or people mentioned in the article. A lot of the time this is a good way to investigate the integrity of an article. If a story is true a lot of other news sources would have reported on it. It is advisable to search for seven reliable sources to determine that a fact is true.

It is important to check the date of the article being posted. Sometimes older content is circulated as if it is new. This content can have a  different impact than originally intended when perceived out of context. An example of this occurred in the aftermath of Colin Kaepernick, an NFL player, kneeling during the American National Anthem in 2016. Kaepernick kneeled with the intention of highlighting the conversation around police brutality. However, after the incident images of the Army Football team kneeling where propagated on the internet. The Army football team was not protesting during the national anthem but praying before the game. Since this image was shared out of context and in a different climate it was interpreted differently.

Finally it is important to take note of the images used in an article. Google allows you to find pictures on their search engine with their reverse image search function. This enables you to find the original of an image as well as its context. Make sure you pay attention to discrepancies that occur between the image and the description or title. If the text says the event occured at night but the image supporting the article represents an event during the day then this is a fair indication that the article may not be very accurate.

If you suspect an article of being fake news, test to see if it is accurate by submitting it to Africa Check. This is an impartial organization that promotes accuracy in the South African media.  You can submit articles for them to investigate on their website. If they investigate the submitted article in question they publish feedback on their website.

Use your scrutiny to determine the truth of an article. Do not share and propagate information that you feel may not be 100% accurate. Each person who participates on social media platforms has a responsibility not to spread misinformation. The more attention you give fake news the more successful it becomes. Do not be a passive receiver of information, rather interrogate information that is presented to you. In a world where everybody and anybody is able to create and share content be a gatekeeper. We hope that this article has helped you highlight some useful ways to expose fake news.If you found this blog post enjoyable, share it with your friends. Let us know what you thought in the comments below.

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