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How Can You Spot Fake News?

by Frederick Akinola

There is fake news all over the internet, especially on social media. Fake news. Lies. Half-truths. This is very dangerous because it can mislead people and cause emotional and physical harm. Also, no one likes to be deceived. You hear or read something online, and you naturally want to share it with others.  You’d feel embarrassed if the fake news was traced back to you. To avoid that, what can you do? How can you spot fake news?

Develop a Critical Mindset

Most fake news is clickbait. Arousing headlines to get you to get on a website. Sometimes you have to click to be sure, don’t spread news based on what you see in the headlines. More so, fake news is made to create shock value, to get the reaction of fear and anger. Keep your emotions in check and try to get to the bottom of things first before you draw conclusions.

Check The Source

Nowadays, even some so-called reliable sources also spread fake news. Not every public figure or verified account is trustworthy. However, If you come across a story from a source that you’ve never heard of before, do some digging. Be aware that people who spread fake news create web pages or doctor-verified sites and make them look, official.

See Who Else Is Reporting the Story

Has anyone else picked up on the story? What do other sources say about it? If other credible sources have reported the story, then it is likely true. In Nigeria for example if Channels and Arise News report a story then it is very likely to be true. Although a lot of newspaper outfits seem compromised they won’t all simultaneously report a fake story. What
some blogs could do is twist the story or headline. Check what other blogs are saying and you’d be able to fact-check the authenticity of the story.

Examine the Evidence

A credible news story will include plenty of facts – quotes from experts, survey data and official statistics, for example. Or detailed, consistent and corroborated eye-witness accounts from people on the scene. If these are missing, question them!
Does the evidence prove that something definitely happened? Or is all you have just a written report without any evidence?

If you do all of this, be critical of stories, check the source, who else is reporting the story, and examine the evidence, you will most probably be able to spot fake news and not be deceived.

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