Learning to Spot Fake News I: Things to Look for

Video Transcript:

"Here are five ways to spot fake news:
Number one: Look for unusual URLS. If they end with l-o or .com.co, chances are they aren’t legitimate news sites. 
Number two: Dissect the Layout. Look for grammatical errors, incorrect dates, bold claims with no sources, and sensationalist images. These are all red flags. 
Number three: Dig Deeper. Find out who wrote the article and who supports the site. If this information doesn’t exist or you need to register to get it, then question why. 
Number four: Cross Check. Use fact checking sites to confirm information and see whether other credible news outlets are reporting similar news. 
Number five: Try a reverse Image search. If the same picture appears in unrelated stories,  you may have a reason to be suspicious. 
For more media literacy tips, visit us at commonsense.org"

Learning to Spot Fake News II: More Ways to Recognize It

Some websites are created to mimic mainstream news sites:

  • Look for contact information with a verifiable address and affiliation.
  • Look for an About page, often in the header or footer of the home page. Read the About page closely for evidence of partisanship or bias.  If there's no About page and no Contact page, be very skeptical.
  • In staff listings (or on the About page), look critically at the list of executives. Are they real people or stock photos? Open a new tab and look for another profile of the individual (e.g. LinkedIn).
  • Perform an independent search for the news source. Compare and verify URLs.
    Example: http://abcnews.com.co/ (fake site) is not the ABC Network News http://abcnews.go.com, but the logo and the URL are almost identical.

Advertisements designed to look like news stories:

  • Look for labels: a corporate logo. Or a tiny statement indicating Paid Post, Advertisement, or Sponsored by. Or the tiny Ad Choices triangle at the upper right corner of an image.

Satire (for example, The Onion).