News generally gains a lot of engagement on social media. However, how can one tell the information from the newsfeed is genuine?
According to the analysis of Facebook news, the top 20 fake news stories dedicated to presidential elections in 2016 generated more engagement than real stories from major news outlets.
What makes fake information so believable?
The universe of “fake news” is much larger than simply false news stories. As the main idea is to evoke emotions, some stories may have a nugget of truth, but they lack any contextualizing details. These stories aren’t usually based on credible facts or sources, and they don’t usually show diverse perspectives. This leads to misperception of information.
How can one spot fake news?
Next time we recommend asking yourself the following questions while scrolling through social media:
1. Where is this information coming from?
A lot of fake news sites try to create a URL similar to the URL of a publication that you might be familiar with. The best way to understand if a site is trustworthy is to read the content on the site, not just one article, and check if they meet the standards of quality journalism.
2. Does the headline sound neutral?
If it causes strong emotions in you, it’s a harbinger that you’re reading fake news.
3. Am I reading beyond the headline?
If a controversial headline drew your attention, read a little further before you decide to pass along the bemusing article. Most of the time, even the headlines of credible news stories don’t tell you the whole story.
4. Who is the author?
You can look up the author of that article or post on social media, and have insight into his other works. If there’s no author it can help you figure out whether or not this piece of information is actually real or the author just misrepresents information.
5. What are the sources?
If you read something that says “scientists say that eating a piece of chocolate daily will make you smarter”. Think about what scientists and what exactly did they say? One of the ways in which rumors go viral is that a lot of people keep repeating the same information without verifying it.
According to the Forbes article by Paul Glader, these are the 10 most credible news sources:
1. The New York Times
2. The Wall Street Journal
3. The Washington Post
5. The Economist
6. The New Yorker
7. Wire Services: The Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg News
8. Foreign Affairs
9. The Atlantic
However, narratives go through various editing and selection processes before they reach renowned TV-channels or websites.
StringersHub is a place where people can directly tell their own stories to the media. Help us spread only trustworthy unbiased information. Upload the videos of the news you have witnessed to the platform so that each story worth telling shall be heard by the world.