CAN YOU SPOT FAKE NEWS?
With all the talk about fake news online, it can be hard to work out what’s actually real news. Here’s a crash course on how to tell fact from fiction
Take a crash course on how to tell the difference between real and fake news.
Fake news is e verywhere – you se e it on your so cial media feeds and gr oup chats. There’s always someone sharing unverified news on child kidnappings, stories of political unrest and the latest cancer scares from often dubious sources. It was even named 2017’s word of the year by Collins Dictionary, which describes fake news
as “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting”.
To thwart its spread, Malaysia passed the Anti-Fake News Bill in April this year, which carries severe punishments of up to six years in jail and a maximum fine of RM500,000 (A$165,000).
Being able to spot fake news is a crucial part of digital literacy and an important aspect of life in the digital age. Here’s a crash course:
1Check the website and quality of the articles
Look at where the story comes from and read other articles on the site – are they well written using correct citations or are they riddled with grammatical errors?
You should also make sure that you’re on a legitimate news site. Some fake sites use addresses and even logos that are similar to those of real news organisat ions. For example, abcnews.go.com is real, while abcnews.com.co is not.
2Is it the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
Sometimes a fake news story can have a sliver of truth to it, but most of the facts and figures are made up.
For example, the event and the people mentioned may be real, but the quotes attributed to them and other facts are simply made up.
To make sure the report isn’t fiction, search for the same story on several credible websites to ensure nothing has been misrepresented.
3Do a Google Reverse Image Search
Upload (drag and drop) a photo to images.google.com to verify where else the image has been used and for what purposes. That will help you decide if a photograph has been doctored or is being falsely presented.
4Do some independent research
Check the quest ionable piece of news against other news sources or fact-checking websites. If the news is about a local kidnapping for example, it would be odd if the story wasn’t covered in your local newspapers.
If it’s not local, check against other news sources or fact-checking websites such as Snopes.com, PolitiFact. com and FactCheck.org – all sources that help debunk fake news, rumours and urban legends.
5 Make sure it’s not satire
If the story is on a satirical website, you should be aware that the intent is humour, not to mislead. These websites publish parodies of news - satirical news stories to make you laugh. So if you’re thinking a story is a bit farfetched, check that you’re not reading a satirical site like The Onion, or The Borowitz Report in The New Yorker.