The Wrangler

How To Spot Fake News On Social Media

Fake+news+is+rampant+on+the+internet%21+Check+out+these+tips+and+be+caution+of+what+you+share.
Fake news is rampant on the internet! Check out these tips and be caution of what you share.

Fake news is rampant on the internet! Check out these tips and be caution of what you share.

Photo Courtesy of The Cistercian Informer

Photo Courtesy of The Cistercian Informer

Fake news is rampant on the internet! Check out these tips and be caution of what you share.

Courtney Poon, Photojournalist

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It’s Donald Trump’s favorite word: fake news. Thanks to a combination of the current political climate and social media, it’s easy for people to spread fake news without thinking twice. Like Brenda Perez (11) believes, “Fake news is dangerous because wrong information can cause people to be distracted by real news and cause mass hysteria.” Here are a few ways to prevent this!

Check the source!

Part of what makes the internet great is that people can share and discuss their opinions. However, this also means that any misinformed person on social media can tweet a viral headline. When reading the news, be sure it comes from a respected, credible source like Washington Post or New York Times before you send it to your friends. Make sure to look out for satire news sites like The Onion or Empire Herald, which usually have humorous headlines that people like to share.

Don’t take it too seriously!

Just because you see it on your Twitter Moments, doesn’t mean it’s completely accurate. If something sounds outrageous or impossible, it probably is because somebody made it up. As YLHS students know due to the recent fake school shooting threat, rumors spread fast thanks to apps like Snapchat. You could seriously damage someone’s reputation by spreading a fake news story before checking its accuracy.

Check the date!

It’s easy for pictures or quotes to be taken out of context so that stories aren’t completely false. People are more likely to believe a legitimate news story from ages ago than an outrageous lie. Don’t be one of these people and check to see that the evidence is current.

Does the evidence back it up?

Fake news sources often will cite official-sounding sources, but once you look into it, the source won’t back up the claim. For instance, the Boston Tribune site wrongly claimed that President Obama’s mother-in-law was going to get a lifetime government pension for having babysat her granddaughters in the White House, citing “the Civil Service Retirement Act” and providing a link. But the link to a government benefits website doesn’t support the claim at all (FactCheck).

Fact check it!

Use reliable online resources like Snopes.com and PolitiFact.com to fact-check viral phenomenon, questionable quotes, and more.

With these tips, hopefully, you’ll be more aware of fake headlines and can focus on something more important: real news.

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How To Spot Fake News On Social Media