The number of fake news sites has been on an upsurge recently and as a result many people hardly know what news sites provide reliable and objective reporting. If you have ever posted a news article on your social media page that you found outrageous and out rightly believed it but later on came to realize that it was just a hoax, then this guide is for you. It’s hard on telling the difference at first, considering that most fake news sites use trending news to create their own pieces even before all the facts are put out by mainstream media.
Here are some tips that should come in handy:
- Website tagline
More than likely, satirical websites will give themselves away with their tagline, for example; NewsMutiny’s tagline is ‘satire for the wise, news for the dumb’. The tagline gives you an idea of what to expect from the news website and will always illuminate whether the stories are indeed true or not. If you don’t get to find the tagline then you should probably skip to the next step.
- The website’s about
Again, this is a great place to know whether the news from the site is reliable or not. Most fake news websites will detail this in their about page and you will find it useful in categorizing the sites effectively. So don’t jump in and start sharing the story as true before confirming the whole site’s credibility in the about page.
Most fake news sites have disclaimers that detail that ‘their news content do not necessarily convey true events’. These disclaimers are put in small font and are less likely to be seen, but a quick search on Google for that particular site’s disclaimer will be more than helpful in illuminating whether the news content on that site is reliable or not.
- Catchy headlines
Some headlines are just too good to be true. Fake news websites get more readers by having catchy news headlines to attract people to view their content. Of course, the catchiness is also embedded in satire and if you are keen enough you can be able to tell that the content is fake news. Sometimes the headlines can be legit enough not to raise any eyebrows but attract reader’sattention; if that is the case then you need to check on the other 4 options.
- Confirm the news content
The intent of fake news is to look as realistic as possible and still convey a bit of humour as well. Therefore, fake news sites are in the business of duping people hilariously (if you can put it out that way). Hence, some reporting may look and feel legit but may not be. It is advised to find more content about the reported news piece in other more reputable news sites to confirm the authenticity of the information.
With these 5 steps, it will be hard to get duped into believing news stories from fake news websites across the world. However, always keep an objective mind as well as there have been quite a number of incidences where mainstream media have adopted news content from fake news sites without knowing.