Don’t take the term “fake news” at face value. It’s really code for ‘I don’t want to believe you.’ You don’t have to be a genius to find out the truth (tho it probably helps). Most folks go for ‘ease of use’.
We will accept much stuff at face value because … it’s just easier than Reality Testing everything. A certain amount of incoming info is open to question by definition. Implicitly. Because it’s New news. It hasn’t been completely vetted yet – or justified by history.
I think what we’re talkin’ about here is Intent. And that goes to Motivation.
Reality Check: Not easy.
Also: Not that hard.
1) Elbow grease (do a little research)
2) Consider the source. Use proven, trusted sources
3) Apply common sense.
Of course, a trusted source can be wrong – as we all are. But, is it a pattern? And do they deal with mistakes in a trustworthy manner? (Fess up. Own it. Or double-down on stupidity.)
A useful Checklist
… from HuffPost
Read Past The Headline
One way that fake news gets amplified is that busy readers may not look past the headline or opening paragraph before they decide to share an article. In other cases, clicking through to the article will reveal that the story really has nothing to do with the headline at all or provides nothing to back it up.
Check What News Outlet Published It
Unfamiliar websites plastered with ads and all-caps headlines should draw immediate skepticism. Googling a site’s name and checking out other articles it posts should also help determine whether it’s trustworthy.
Check The Publish Date And Time
Another common element in fake news is that old articles or events can resurface and lead people to believe they just happened. Checking the publish time stamp is something readers can quickly do to prevent being misled.
Who Is The Author?
Looking at who wrote the article can reveal a lot of information about the news source. Searching through the author’s previous articles can show whether they are a legitimate journalist or have a history of hoaxes.
Look At What Links And Sources Are Used
A lack of links or sources for claims in an article is an obvious warning sign that the post is likely false. Fake sites may also provide numerous links to sites that appear to back up their claims, but are themselves spreading misinformation. Check to see that claims supported by links actually come from reliable sources.
Look Out For Questionable Quotes And Photos
It’s incredibly easy for fake news writers to invent false quotes, even attributing them to major public figures. Be skeptical of shocking or suspicious quotes, and search to see if they have been reported elsewhere.
Beware Confirmation Bias
People are often drawn to stories that reinforce the way they see the world and how they feel about certain issues. Fake news is no exception, and many of the articles that fall under its umbrella are designed to stir up emotion in readers and prey on their biases.
Search If Other News Outlets Are Reporting It
If a story looks suspicious or claims to reveal major news, search to see if other news outlets are also reporting the story. A single article from a suspicious source making a grand claim should be viewed with heavy skepticism. If no reliable news outlets are also reporting the story, then it’s very likely fake.
Think Before You Share
Fake news sites rely on readers to share and engage with their articles in order for them to spread. In extreme cases, these fake articles can balloon out of control and have unintended consequences for those involved in the stories.
My favorite resource For Spotting Fake News:
“Trust” is the magic Word. Plus, a little homework. Then again, Philosophers and Scientists have been kicking this one around since time immemorial, haven’t they?
“How can we know what we know?”
It has a digital twist now – and the issue seems to be more focused on Social Trust than Physical and Human Perception.
Interpretation Is Implicit
© The Communication Studio LLC