Further tips from Common Sense Media to help you spot fake news:
You might enjoy learning tricks to spot fake news. Here are a few things to watch for:
- 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.)
5 Ways Fake News Websites are Evolving, written by Craig Silverman. August 24, 2016. Published on First Draft, a project of the Harvard Kennedy School's Shorenstein Center.