Fake News

How to spot fake news...

  • Fake News Symbaloo provides links to sites that fact check current news and events.

     

    Leading up to the 2016 US presidential election, fabricated campaign-related news stories received more attention than news from traditional outlets.  Since the election, fake news has continued to dominate.  It is intended to both shape public opinion and make advertisers rich.  How can you make sure the news you are listening to, reading and sharing is accurate.  How can you outsmart those who are trying to take advantage of you?  How can you tell fact from fiction?  There are a few steps you can take to determine the accuracy of your source.  (School Library Journal, Jan 2017)

     

    The CARS method is one way to test a source.  Is the source credible? Accurate? Reasonable? Can the story be supported by other sources?  

     

    You should ask yourself;

    Who is the Author/Producer/Creator of the message?  

    Who is the intended audience?

    What techniques are being used to get our attention and to make a message believable?  

    Who benefits from the message?  

    Who or what is omitted and why?

     

    Common Sense Media has a great article on learning tricks to spot fake news. Here are just a few of the tricks.

    • Look for unusual URLs or site names, including those that end with ".co" -- these are often trying to appear like legitimate news sites, but they aren't.

    • Look for signs of low quality, such as words in all caps, headlines with glaring grammatical errors, bold claims with no sources, and sensationalist images (women in bikinis are popular clickbait on fake news sites). These are clues that you should be skeptical of the source.

    • Check a site's "About Us" section. Find out who supports the site or who is associated with it. If this information doesn't exist -- and if the site requires that you register before you can learn anything about its backers -- you have to wonder why they aren't being transparent.

    • Check Snopes, Wikipedia, and Google before trusting or sharing news that seems too good (or bad) to be true.

    • Consider whether other credible, mainstream news outlets are reporting the same news. If they're not, it doesn't mean it's not true, but it does mean you should dig deeper.

    • Check your emotions. Clickbait and fake news strive for extreme reactions. If the news you're reading makes you really angry or super smug, it could be a sign that you're being played. Check multiple sources before trusting.

    (Thanks to Professor Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College for some of these tips.)



    For extensive information on fake news and how to spot it, visit The Media Clearinghouse.  Frank Baker, is a consultant to the National Council of Teachers of English, educational leader, and is the author of his Nationally Recognized Media Literacy Resource Website.  This site is an education in the strategies you can use to combat fake news.  It teaches you to be a wise consumer of information.

     

    Truth, truthiness, triangulation: A news literacy toolkit for a “post-truth” worldby Joyce Valenza is  a great resource for understanding the complexity of fake news.  It is about shaping public opinion and making advertising dollars.  If a headline or a picture can get you to click on it, the advertiser makes money.  It is incentive for the wildest heading or craziest image.  Whatever it takes to draw you in.  

     

    Use FactCheck.org, Politifact.com and snopes.com to determine the truth and accuracy of the news stories you are hearing and reading.  Use these sites to learn the actual facts of the issue and how they are being distorted….or not...

     

    Take the time to learn how to be a wise consumer of information.