By Porter Rodriguez
Edited by Eman Hamed
The rise and widespread use of social media has sparked a lot of things, among the most dangerous being fake news. Social media and the internet have made it feasible for us to see and share things with just the click of a button. Clickbait titles and horrifying pictures have taken over our Instagram feeds, but how can we tell what is fact and what is fiction?
Fake news is an epidemic that is overtaking the internet.
Fake news can be as simple as changing a few facts to sound more outrageous, or it can be making up a story altogether to garner a reaction from the public. But with all of these different and competing news sources, it's hard to tell what is true and what has been fabricated solely for popularity. Below are a few things that you can do to make sure what you're reading is true.
1.) Check the Source
A lot of fake news does not come from a reputable source. Check if the website that you're looking at ends in .com, .org, or .edu, as pop up websites that usually have fake news often end in odd extensions. Another way to check the source is to see how many advertisements are on the website or the article, and see if it is a “sponsored” story or is advertising anything. Some generally credible sources include The New York Times, BBC, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes.
2.) Check Multiple Sources
If multiple sources are reporting similar information, the chances are that the information is true. Be careful with websites that advertise breaking news- this can sometimes just be clickbait.
3.) Check the Author
In almost all credible sources, the journalist's name will be clearly visible, usually under the title of the article. Clickbait and fake news usually do not credit an author. You can also check the writer's bio, if it is attached, and see what else they have written or their qualifications.
4.) Think critically
Ask yourself some of these questions: Is this article trying to convince me of something? Is it trying to sell something to me? Is it trying to get me to look at another website? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you should do some more research on the subject before sharing with others.
5.) Recognize partisan and nonpartisan content
Sometimes in articles, especially ones about political issues, the author is subtly trying to convince you of something. Make sure to always keep an open mind when reading articles solely for information.
Especially in these times, when we are all searching for information, it is very important that we do our best to certify that our information is correct. Next time you discover an interesting news story, make sure that you spot out any red flags before sharing to prevent the spread of misinformation.