How To Spot Fake News Website


Why It Matter: The topic of fake news is as old as the news industry itself—misinformation, hoaxes, propaganda, and satire have long been in existence.


Fake news has been circulating as long as its legitimate counterpart, it's been getting a lot of play recently, thanks to the way we consume information. According to Pew Research Center, people under the age of 50 get half of their news online. And for those under 30, online news is twice as popular as TV news.

Fake news may not be something new, but the platform used is the only new thing about it. Propaganda has been around for centuries, and the internet is only the latest means of communication to be abused to spread lies and misinformation.

When it comes strictly to dealing with fake news site, however, the following tips can help you learn how to better identify it so you can avoid being misled and contributing to the spread of such stories.

Why Having Fake News Site

Why Fake News Quickly Goes Viral.

Thousands of people circulated these false stories. Why? 
  • because eye-popping headlines in our social media feeds make it easier for us to share content than evaluate or even read it. This creates a viral storm of sound bites without substance.
  • Another contributing factor, according to Pew Research, is confirmation bias. People are more likely to accept information that confirms their beliefs and dismiss information that does not.
  • But the result of all this misinformation isn’t simply ignorance. It can also provoke serious consequences.
  • In the case of #pizzagate, a man decided to “self-investigate” the child abuse allegations, arming himself with several weapons, arriving at the restaurant cited in the fake story, firing a shot (luckily without injury to anyone), and terrifying bystanders. In instances such as these, the stakes are too high not to get the facts straight.
  • If the last two years have been any indication, next year promises to be a doozy of a news year. So we need to defend ourselves against getting duped. Keeping track of good and bad news requires us, as readers, to do a little legwork

How to Spot Fake News Site

Separating fact from fiction accurately can seem daunting. But getting to the truth is always worth the effort – even if it's not what you want to hear! Use these six steps to weed out the truth from the lies:

First Develop a Critical Mindset

One of the main reasons fake news is such a big issue is that it is often believable, which means it's easy to get caught out. Many fake news site are also written to create "shock" value.

This means it's essential that you keep your emotional response to such stories in check. Instead, approach what you see and hear rationally and critically.

Ask yourself, "Why has this story been written? Is it to persuade me of a certain viewpoint? Is it selling me a particular product? Or is it trying to get me to click through to another website?"

Check the Site Source

If you come across a story from a site that you've never heard of before, do some digging! Find out a bit more about the publisher – is it a professional and well-known news agency or is it someone's personal blog?

Check the URL of the page, too. Strange-sounding URLs that end in extensions like ".infonet" and ".offer," rather than ".com" ".ng" or ".com.ng," or that contains spelling errors, may mean that the source is suspect.

If the information is something that you've been told by another person, consider his reputation and professional experience. Is he known for his expertise on the matter? or does he tend to exaggerate the truth?

Trusted online sources like Snopes can help you to verify sites that sound too good to be true.

Are Other Reputable Sites Reporting This?

If one potentially legitimate news source is reporting a big story, then other reputable sites will be reporting on it too. A simple search for the story will allow you to see if others are covering the topic in more or less the same way.

If you can find official news outlets like Daily Trust, Legit.ng, The Cable NG, Vanguard NG, Premium Time and others reporting on it, then it's worth digging into those stories as well to check and see if the context lines up across all sites reporting on the same story. (Ed. note: Even some official outlets have been accused of providing less than truthful news items. Look up 'CNN fake news' on Google and you'll see what i mean.)

As you do this, you may notice that news sites tend to link to one another to back up their information, so you may find yourself going around in circles by following those links. If you can't find your way back to any recognizable/reputable sites by starting from an unrecognizable site, or if you notice that you're going in a continuous loop as you click from link to link, then there's a reason to question the legitimacy of the story.

When you do your search, it's important to keep an eye out on the date of the article. Finding old stories in your results suggests the fake news site has taken an old story (that might have been legitimate at the time) and then repurposed it. They might have even manipulated it some so that it's more shocking, controversial, and wrong.

Check the Site Sourcing and Use of Quotes

​If a site has no links to sources or uses something like, "sources say... or according to" to back up their claims, then you may just have a fake news story in front of you. If there are links included in the story, click on them to see where they go. You want them to be linking to sites that are reputable (BBC, CNN, The New York Times, etc.) and have a good track record of reporting facts.

If there are quotes included in the story, copy and paste them into Google to search and see if any other sites reporting on the same story have used the quotes. If you don't find anything, the quote could be a complete work of fiction created by the author.

Use your common sense, if a story sounds unbelievable, it probably is. Bear in mind that fake news is designed to "feed" your biases or fears. And, remember, just because a story sounds "right" and true, doesn't mean that it is.

For example, it's unlikely that your favorite designer brand is giving away a million free dresses to people who turn up to its stores. Equally, just because your colleague believes that two married co-workers are having an affair, doesn't mean it's true.

Some stories that you'll encounter will sound "wrong," but won't necessarily be fake news. They could be intentional satire, for example, or something that comes from a humorous website, like The Onion or The Daily Mash, for example.

Let’s Test Your Knowledge

Now it's time to put what you've learned into practice! Below are five recent news stories. But, can you tell which ones are true and which are false? Click on the links next to each to find out..
  • "Lai Mohammed Photographed Alongside Obasanjo." Real or Fake?
  • "River State Governor to Relocating to Sambisa to Make Way for Affordable Housing. See How Nigerian React" Real or Fake?
  • "New Species of Deadly Spider Kills Five in U.S." Real or Fake?
  • "Shock, How Nigerian React to Buhari Dead Body." Real or Fake?
  • "Atiku Abubakar Personal Lawyer Tweets that Buhari Will Get 'Free Room and Board' in Prison." Real or Fake?

Conclusion

Fake news refers to deliberate untruths or stories that contain some truth, but which aren't completely accurate. Some people also claim that truthful stories are "fake news," just because they don't agree with them.

Fake news can have a negative impact on workplace behavior. For example, by damaging learning culture, and causing rumor and mistrust to spread. So, it's vital to know how to separate the real from the fake. You can do this by following these six steps:
  • Develop a critical mindset.
  • Check the source.
  • See who else is reporting the story.
  • Examine the evidence.
  • Look for fake images.
  • Check that it "sounds right."

This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you'll find here at Mind Tools.

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