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A practical guide in spotting fake news

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In the Philippines, a lot of things that people read online, especially on the social media feeds, may seem true, often is not. Fake news is stories or hoaxes created to intentionally misinform or confuse the public.

Typically, these articles are created either to manipulate people’s views, to drive policy agendas, or to cause uncertainty, and can often be a profitable business for online publishers.

Fake news may mislead people by searching for trusted websites or by using similar names and addresses to reputable news organizations.

Since fake news is prevalent and the rate of this misinformation being shared is almost realtime, how can we spot it so that we can take further actions, such as reporting it as false news and let others know that the news contains false information?

In this post, we’re going to share our ways in spotting fake news.

Inspect the content

Try to inspect and analyze the content if it contains one-sided opinions. Most credible media outlets keep their opinions on the “opposite editorial” page and not on the news section.

News should be based on facts and have strong evidence that it actually happened. If the article does not contain any sources or references, and if you notice that it is highly based on speculation, it is most likely fake news and deliberately published to misinform the public.

Check the news media outlet

You should be familiar with the reputable news outlets available to you and check if the publisher is one of them. In addition, double-check what other sources say about this news outlet.

Check the author of the news

Readers should do some background checks on the author of the article if he or she is real. If the author has made up his or her identity, the news he or she has written is most likely fake.

Check the sources and references

As we have mentioned earlier on the “Inspect the content” part, news should be based on facts and have strong evidence that it actually happened. Without sources or references, any claims on the news are most likely invalid or fake.

Check the image and do reverse image search

Reverse image tools such as Google Image search is a great tool wherein you can search the image posted on the news. By doing a reverse image search, you can identify if the image has been used before in different news or context.

Think before you share

There will be a case that the story could be a diversion if a particular event is real. Before sharing, check for similar news on other reliable outlets to see if they have already covered this particular story.

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