Spotlight On: Fake News

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Because all jokes aside, it’s a real thing.

You’re a smart, independent, well educated guy or gal. You know the sun is bad, hygge is good, and not to bring up politics at a dinner party. So then why are so many of us falling for fake news stories?

Think about it, how many Pinterest articles do you actually read before pinning? How about those stories you “share” on Facebook? Well you’re not alone. Turns out over 60% of people who share these stories don’t actually read them. So don’t go planning your trip to the “Real Life Fountain Of Youth!!!” just yet. Even if your super smart, totally chic college reposted the article last tuesday… she probably didn’t read it either.

And FYI just because it’s on the internet doesn’t make it automatically true. For instance I could post tomorrow that pants aren’t a mandatory part of dress code anymore (I wish)… that doesn’t mean you’d actually show up to work in your skivvies. Each “author” is responsible for ensuring their articles are credible. If the site you’re frequenting doesn’t see the issue in posting not-so-true facts then there’s no one to stop them. There is no internet police that fact-checks each individual post (though Google tries their best).

Here are some tips to avoid falling for the fake news trap.

  1. Authenticate The URL.
    Usually if it ends in .gov (a government site), .edu (a university) or .org (a non-profit) the site information is likely credible. Dot coms are the grey area… freedom of speech reigns here. Keep in mind everyone is allowed to have an opinion but that doesn’t make it right, it’s up to .coms to fact check their own posts. Avoid sites ending in .co such as ABCnews.com.co. These sites are trying to use a credible source (such as a news site) to pass along their false information. .co’s have zero affiliation with these trustworthy sites so it’s a big red flag.
  2. The Language.
    If it sounds more emotional than informational you are possibly reading a fake story. These posts are meant to tug at the emotional heartstrings of the reader as opposed to delivering any factual evidence. While you’re reading think “is this an opinion or a fact?” “is the author using words and phrases to get me worked up?”
  3. Too Good To Be True.
    Once again, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. An exaggerated headline draws people in hoping they will want to believe the story and overlook any lack of factual evidence. Beware.
  4. Check The “About Us” Section.
    Any credible site will have a well written “About Us” section that includes who runs the site, contact info, and a mission statement. If the site you’re on is missing this information it’s time to rethink what your reading.

 

That’s all for now my loves,
Xo Miranda<3