Fake news is what it sounds like, stories that are published that are not based on facts. The aim of most fake news stories is to make money. Fake news stories have exciting titles that lure people to click on a link--which makes money. In print, sensational headlines sell tabloids.
You'll be Amazed!
It will Shock you!
You Won't Believe What Happens Next!
The Secret They Don't Want You to Know!
The Trick They Hate!
The headlines above are typical clickbait, always sensational.
What's Clickbait? Just what it sounds like: "content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page (Oxford Living Dictionaries)."
The problem with clickbait is that you don't always recognize it for what it is. What you get when you click on clickbait is a sensationalized misleading story. Here are some clickbait examples:
These are things to look at that can help you determine if you are reading or watching fake news.
Is the source of the news story a known legitimate news outlet? Is it from a news source that is also available as broadcast news or an online or print magazine?
Does the author of the news story have an agenda? Are they associated with a special interest group? 3. Documentation Are sources given in the story? Can you find the sources cited to verify the information? Do individuals interviewed as sources have some kind of expertise on the topic, such as their profession, education or were they a witness to the news event?
Do the conclusions that the news story comes to about the topic line up with other sources on the topic? This is actually the most important piece since fake news sources may also fake credentials, documentation, etc.
Fake news sites are notorious for creating names similar to legitimate news sources to make their stories seem credible.
The sites below have more tips on how to spot fake news stories
Fake news is everywhere. Media bias has become common. How do you sift through it all and find out what is true?
You are more likely to get reliable news from library databases or Pulitzer Prize Winning News Sources. Even news sites and online news magazines are less likely to have fake news, though some are biased. More reliable biased sites let you know what their point of view is.
One of the best ways to determine accuracy is to use multiple sources. This is what scholars do. This is what faculty train college students to do when they write papers for courses. Scholars and faculty know that the more sources you review, the more likely you are to come to an accurate conclusion.
When you review your multiple sources, ask yourself things like:
If your sources don't have information about the author or it is not clear where the author got the information, it makes it very hard for you to evaluate. Sources that clearly state these things are generally more reliable.