Fake news is a serious problem. In fact, bogus headlines might have been partly responsible for very real headlines, like ones about a “pizzagate shooter” and a billionaire reality TV game show host winning the presidency.
To arm yourself against Fake News, the only thing you can do is be vigilant. It’s clear that critical thinking and media literacy are not at the top of most school’s lesson plans, so NPR put together a solid list of things to look out for when reading the news. After you check out the list, send it to any family members or former classmates who keep clogging our newsfeeds with this stuff.
Pay Attention to Domain and URL
Addresses that end in “[dot] com” — good.
Addresses that end in “[dot] com [dot] co — bad.
Read the "About Us" section
According to NPR, if the “melodramatic and seems overblown, you should be skeptical. Also, you should be able to find out more information about the organization's leaders in places other than that site.”
Read the quotes in the story
Journalism, of the most part, relies on first person accounts to get the stories. Traditionally, although becuase of the internet this has been dwindling, it’s a journalistic responsibility to speak to more than one source.
If you’re reading a story and there aren’t that many quotes, raise your eyebrows and look into who they’re quoting.
Read the comments
This goes against smart practices, but if you think something might be fake, read the comments. Because so many comment sections are linked to other social media sites, there’s a good chance someone is already calling the article “fake” in the comments.
Reverse image search
Honestly, if you’ve already gone through the other steps and still can’t whether it’s fake news or not, either check another news outlet or get off the internet. But if you really want to know how to do this, NPR says, “You can do this by right-clicking on the image and choosing to search Google for it. If the image is appearing on a lot of stories about many different topics, there's a good chance it's not actually an image of what it says it was on the first story.
BONUS: See who’s writing this garbage
If every article is written by Jimmy Rustling, and they include headlines like “DRUGS IN COLORADO: New Deadly Strain Of Marijuana Turning Users Gay,” you’re on a fake news site, buddy.
Jimmy Rustling’s bio on abc.com.co is unbelievable.