The Falcon Voice

How to Spot Fake News

Molly Glenn, Journalist

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Have you ever been slightly suspicious about the credibility of an article? Fake news is far more common in the digital age. This is due to a significant increase of easily accessible platforms for people that wish to spread falsified information in order to promote their own agenda, whatever this may be. There are many steps you can take to ensure that you are receiving the most accurate information about a current event.

The key step to spotting fake news is checking the source, and there are many ways to do this. As an informed reader, you should only trust official news sources, such as the New York Times or Washington Post. These sources are more likely to publish the most accurate details about a current event, opposed to another website you have never heard of before. There are some websites created to spread false information for satirical purposes, and it is important that you do not trust these sites. When you have determined that the source is most likely credible, be sure that the article you are viewing is fairly recent. Older articles that may have been error-free when they were written may not apply to the current situation you are inquiring about. Researching the author to make sure they are a respectable journalist with a positive reputation is also important, because they most likely provided accurate recounts of captivating stories in the past. Lastly, you must check the article’s Works Cited page in order to be sure that the sources of information used are as accurate and credible as possible. Typically, URLs ending in .org, .gov, or .edu are the most credible and unbiased sources. If you analyze the source and are still unsure, other solutions may be available.

Consulting others may be an effective method of fact-checking a source. If you do not have time to ask an expert about your topic, you can use tools like factcheck.org to inquire about a certain piece of information that you have read about. Last but not least, make sure that your own biases are not affecting your perception of what you are reading. We all have opinions that may conflict with factual evidence, but it is important to view every situation objectively to be sure that you are gathering real facts.

In conclusion, fact-checking is a useful tool to ensure that you are not believing or spreading information about a current event that is not precise. Consider using these steps the next time you are conducting research on a potentially controversial topic, in order to effectively analyze various sources.

 

For More Information:

IFLA Staff. “How To Spot Fake News.” IFLA, IFLA and the Information Society, 26 Feb. 2018, www.ifla.org/publications/node/11174. Accessed 27 Feb. 2018.

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How to Spot Fake News