When you headline in your social media feed from a supposedly reputable source, why doubt its integrity? While it might not seem like something worth pausing over, fake news is flooding the Internet these days.
From political pieces to celebrity gossip, we all scroll past endless articles that tempt and poke at our urge to find out, to know, to satisfy those curiosities. The problem is, there are many fake news sources that post seemingly truthful content simply to trick you into believing something false.
Types of Fake News:
- Clickbait: Think articles that claim to have found the fountain of youth, the vitamin that cures cancer, or the list of celebrities who have had plastic surgery – you know the ones. They hook you with a headline that makes you think, OK, I have GOT to find out!
- Jokes and Satire: Does The Onion ring a bell? While it’s famous for publishing fake news items, there are other under-the-radar publications that some readers may not realize are satire. If it seems too good, too funny, too unrealistic… chances are, your intuition is flagging a satirical news source rather than a real one.
- Deceptive News: We liken this to when a famous celebrity or spokesperson is misquoted. Taken out of context, some information may seem more important or divisive than if it were presented in its entirety, so it’s to the publisher’s advantage to cut crucial information from the content to persuade you to only get one side of the story. This type of news is commonly found in political articles.
- Fake News: Plain and simple, it is information presented as news, but actually isn’t based on truth, fact, or reality. It can be an opinion masked as fact, a lie concocted to get readers to feel a certain way, or even just a way to trick readers into clicking on the content.
Tips to Avoid Fake News
- Find reputable news sources that can back up the claim
- Do your own research about the topic
- Find out when the story was published
- Check the site against a list of known fake news sites, like this one
- Be mindful of what you share on social media—read before you share!
If you get your news primarily from social media like Twitter or Facebook, it’s important to be mindful of the sources of your news and to explore any information that seems outlandish—whether you want it to be true or not!