Don't Fall For Fake News, Here's How To Spot One

Lifestyle Photo credit - WVIK
NOV 15, 2017 LISTEN
Photo credit - WVIK

How do you spot a fake news story?
Here are a few red flags to watch for:

Too crazy to be true? Don’t trust it .

“Is the story so outrageous you can’t believe it? Maybe you shouldn’t . Respect the voice inside you that says, ‘What?’” writes NPR’s Steve Inskeep.

Are known/reputable news organizations not reporting on the same story ?

Sometimes this is because of media bias, but generally there should always be more than one organization reporting on an event, writes Merrimack College assistant professor of communication and media Melissa Zimdars.

Does it pass the CRAAP test ?
It’s a handy acronym for remembering how to ask yourself: is this source full of, uh, craap ?

  • Currency: When was it published?
  • Relevance: Is it created for the right audience?
  • Authority: Who wrote it?
  • Accuracy: Is the evidence backed up with data?
  • Purpose: Why was this created and is there an underlying bias?

Are you asked to rely on one killer factoid ?

“If a hacked document “proves” an implausible conspiracy, look for the context that shows what the document really means . As for photos and video, use Ronald Reagan’s old slogan: trust but verify,” writes NPR’s Steve Inskeep.

Use the Snopes’ field guide to fake news sites

This list of the “most frequent (and unapologetic) hoax purveyors cluttering up newsfeeds everywhere” will make sure you’re not getting caught out.

Invoke the three S approach: Stop, Search and Subscribe !

The Alliance has got a handy three word slogan to make sure you’re reading real news.

  • Stop: Before you share that story… stop and think about the headline: does it tell you everything you need to know?
  • Search: Do you know this publication? How about the author? Google is your friend – do some quick searches to see what you can find.
  • Subscribe: “The easiest way to become media literate is by subscribing to trustworthy, quality journalism,” writes Kirsten Ballard. (So make sure you’re signed up to ICIJ!)

This is just a quick taste of the tips, resources and tools that the Alliance has collated. Check the full list out here . And tune in to the News Media Alliance’s Facebook Live panel at 2 p.m. E.T. today (Tuesday, Oct. 3) to find out more about how to combat fake news.

ModernGhana Links

Join our Newsletter