With a US president who has made more than 20,000 false claims, it can be challenging to navigate fact from fiction. Thus, we have some quick advice on how to spot fake news, so you can stop yourself, your parents, friends, and coworkers from spreading it.
Do you no longer trust the media? A survey conducted by Gallup and Knight concluded that Americans are continuing to distrust the news media far into the 2020 year. “Many Americans feel the media’s critical role of informing and holding those in power accountable is compromised by increasing bias. As such, Americans have not only lost confidence in the ideal of an objective media; they believe news organizations actively support the partisan divide. At the same time, Americans have not lost sight of the value of news — strong majorities uphold the ideal that the news media is fundamental to a healthy democracy” (KnightFoundation.Org). So, Americans understand the news industry’s value and understand its importance, but they don’t trust today’s mainstream media because of the news media’s supposed bias.
However, Americans aren’t the only ones losing trust in their media, so is the global world. According to 2019 statistics, there has been a reduced media trust due to fake news worldwide. From Tunisia to Sweden to Kenya, a majority of adults have lost faith in their media.
There is no reason why any individual shouldn’t doubt the news they are receiving in an era of misinformation. Statista reports that most users that spread fake news do it unintentionally. “A great proportion of respondents unknowingly spread fake news, with 49 percent reporting they had shared news online which they later found was made up. However, ten percent of surveyed adults admitted to sharing information online which they knew was false” (Statista.com).
Social media platforms like Facebook have become the hotspot for fake news than any other media platform, recent research from the University of Colorado Boulder confirms that. “Facebook is a more fertile breeding ground for fake news than Twitter, and those on the far ends of the liberal-conservative spectrum are most likely to share it” (CU Boulder Research). In fact, lies spread faster than truth. Researchers found that false information is 70% more likely to be retweeted than the truth and old folks might be the ones to blame. Throughout the 2016 US election, Facebook users over the age of 65 shared nearly seven times as many articles from fake news sites as young users.
With a US president who has made more than 20,000 false or misleading claims, it can be challenging to navigate fact from fiction. Thus, I have some quick advice on how to spot fake news, so you can stop your parents, friends, and colleagues from continuing to spread it.
- Before you even dive into the story, make sure the source is credible. Just because they have an amusing website, it can still be fake news. Check the URL, the author, the about us page, you can even take a look at their other reported stories. Still unsure, check if the organization is listed under Snopes, a media platform that exposes false information and keeps a list of known fake news websites.
ACTUALLY READ THE STORY
- Clickbait is REAL; news headlines are made to capture the audience’s attention, so actually read into the story before even sharing it.
ARE OTHER NEWS SITES REPORTING THE STORY?
- If you’re reading a story that reports the president has been assassinated and no other news organization is reporting it, chances are it’s fake. Therefore, be sure to read multiple stories on the same subject before sharing it.
- Trustworthy news stories come with quotes from officials, eyewitness reports, data. If the story you’re reading, doesn’t come with any of the above, chances are it’s fake.
GOOGLE REVERSE IMAGE SEARCH
- Technology can help uncover if the story you’re reading is a lie. Tools such as Google Reverse Image Search showcase the image’s origin and determine if it has been altered. It’s a tool that is very common in the journalistic world to fact check information.
USE COMMON SENSE!
- Fake news is designed to feed into your biases, fears and hopes, if it sounds too good to be true, there’s a chance it can be bogus.
Need more help? Down below is an infographic that you can easily share to your friends, family and coworkers.