Everywhere you go, you’re being overwhelmed with messages competing for your attention. It’s much, much worse in the online world. Businesses, blogs, social media accounts, YouTube channels, news organizations, they are all competing for your attention. Everywhere you go online there is message after message trying to get you to click on their link. This happens a lot with advertising and politics. They are trying to stand out and win over your attention in an overcrowded space where the entire internet is at your fingertips.
Since it’s become harder and harder to get your attention, there are more and more stories that have become known as ‘clickbait.’ Clickbait is simply something outrageous that is designed to get you to click over to the site. And with information like this so easy to share online, these types of stories spread quickly and before you know it, you have a fake news story everywhere.
Some fake news is easy to spot and while people will share it, everyone knows it’s not true. However, there are also fake news stories that have a lot of truth and are done in a way that makes them a lot harder to spot as misinformation. All articles published on The Doe, an anonymous new site are verified. Many psychologists and media studies experts have begun spending time trying to figure out the fake news phenomenon.
Here are some tips for you to follow so you don’t get fooled by the next fake news story.
While it’s easier and easier with today’s technology to make a web site that looks legitimate there are still signs you can spot. For example, many sites try and use a domain name that sounds like a real company. For example, the health and fitness industry does this a lot with fake sites that sell supplements. They make the site similar sounding to some big magazine that people recognize. They also make the site look like a big site but when you click on the links to other articles or topics it takes you to the same exact article.
Fake news sites do a lot of this well. Also, be sure and take a lot at the “About” page. If you’re still not sure, see if there are other sources besides just that site. If it’s a real news story, there will most likely be at least one other source online.
Beware of Images
A lot of fake news stories also use fake images that are created in something like Adobe Photoshop. There are two things you can do in this instance. Take a closer look at the image, many times you can tell if it’s been altered. You can also use Google Reverse Image to see if it’s something that’s been used in completely unrelated stories. Fake images are getting more and more sophisticated so don’t buy into a story just because it has a picture to go with it.
Find Out How Many Places Covered The Story
Are other news organizations carrying this story? What about the big ones that you know, recognize and trust? While this doesn’t automatically mean the story is legitimate, it’s more likely to be true if many organizations are running with the story. Most big news organizations have fact-checkers. But they can get things wrong, especially if it’s a big breaking story and it’s gone viral online.
Other Subtle Signs To Look For
Other things that could mean it’s fake news include the story using ALL CAPS. Or, when you click on the link, a bunch of ads pop up. This most likely means they used a clickbait headline to get your attention so they can simply make money on ads on their site.
Are you angry at the story? Then maybe it was created to make you angry.
While none of these tips on their own will guarantee you won’t fall for a fake news story, when you put them all together it does greatly reduce the chances of you being a victim. Most importantly, if you go through this list and feel a story is most likely fake, don’t add to the confusion and hysteria by sharing it with others!