Learn how to recognize fake news

There is a lot of fake news available on the internet, especially circulating on social media services. But how can you tell if something you are reading is fake or not?

“Fake news” was the word of the year in 2017, after Donald Trump regularly used it during his election campaign.

Fake news: false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting

There is a lot of fake news available on the internet, especially circulating on social media services. But how can you tell if something you are reading is fake or not? You don’t want to become known amongst your friends as the gullible one who shares fake news!

Learn how to spot fake news, and if you’re a parent, help your child understand what red flags they can look for.

Red flags – learn to spot fake news articles

Sounds too crazy to be true: Listen to the voice inside you that reacts with a “What?!?” Don’t blindly trust articles click-bait headlines. If it sounds too good or too bad to be true, it’s probably fake news.

It’s not on the well-known news channels: If reputable news organisations haven’t written about it, it’s likely not true.

Is it CRAAP?

  • Current: When was it published?
  • Relevant: Who is its audience?
  • Authority: Who wrote it?
  • Accurate: Is it backed up with data? Pro tip: Polls are not trustable data!
  • Purpose: Why was it written and what bias does the author or publication have?

Check for it on Snopes: Fake news articles and hoaxes are regularly debunked on the Snopes fact-checking site.

Learn which sources are shady: Certain sources are known to be unreliable, but it’s hard to tell when you are looking at sources outside of your own country. If the website’s address (URL) looks odd, it’s probably not trustable. Ask around, check Wikipedia, and verify your source is ok.

Watch out for satire: Many comedy sites produce humorous but false stories as satire. The Onion is probably the most well known satire website. Check your website for a disclaimer – most satirical sites will have one.