How To Recognize Fake News

News is all over us, but which articles are true? How to know for sure and not be deceived.

How To Recognize Fake News

Looking through information feeds, posts, TV broadcasts or the first page of the browser, where the latest news is offered, we are faced with a large flow of information, which will be quite adequate and expected to get lost in. Information is the main weapon of a person, with which we can see a clear agenda, what is happening around the world and understand how to relate to certain events. As with everything, there is a second side to this issue and an obvious "BUT".

With regard to information coverage, the main " BUT " is news, which, by definition, is untrue. This phenomenon is commonly called as "fake news". It is that type of news which creates an information noise, which with particular force distracts us from the present and real course of things. Such informational reports, articles or video messages are created to entertain or mislead people and misinform them, in order to obtain any benefit. Of course, this news is an absolute fake and cannot be trusted in any way.

However, how do you know which news is true and which is fake if they are deliberately spread and try to make it look like real events? In this article, I will tell you what you need to pay attention to when reading or viewing news, how to understand the principle of creating a fake in a particular summary, and offer options and ways to recognize a fake.

Most news stories try to look scientific, using complex terminology similar to professional language. All this is done in order not to show people that the information is intentionally false and does not correspond to reality. As a rule, such articles try to refer to quite serious sources that have a good reputation or are well-known to everyone, for example, appealing to famous names and their personal opinion. The first thing to do in this situation is to identify the author and the sources. Fake news often uses few or no names of authors, while interfering with well-known and reputable people in their articles.

If the article still has an author, you need to try to find information about him: whom he is, where he was published and is being published, how well known and respected he is. Moreover, a universal way to check news for the presence of falsehood, which is almost always suitable, is the assessment of spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Many fake news stories make mistakes in the spelling of names, headlines, and overall text. If you see numerous errors, then this is a signal for you that it is dangerous to trust this information 100%.

Another beacon for determining the reliability of information can be safely called the thing that is familiar to almost every one of us – these are scandalous, hot topics and no less bright and exciting headlines of articles or television broadcasts. This is done to attract people’s attention to the topic and get as many views, likes or subscriptions as possible. Usually such headlines are full of very stupid phrases, more like second-rate sources. Agree, no one needs to dig in dirty laundry, but, surprisingly, such sites and news are popular. For me, this success is still a mystery. In such news, in addition to the standard assessment of spelling, grammar, and punctuation, it is necessary to check the style of writing and the facts that are presented in the articles.

Developing the idea of facts, a common way to identify fake news is to check the facts. In some cases, you can immediately understand that the fact is clearly invented, but sometimes they are very veiled and similar to the truth. Then you can pay attention to the following things:

  • neglect of the time frame and sources referred to by the author (or their complete absence and rather abstract coverage of the news);
  • most of the article expresses the personal opinion of the author, his or her emotions and impressions, but not objective, as far as possible, and unbiased facts;
  • if the facts mentioned cannot be verified in any way, (the facts are not available to the general public, they are not freely available; the only source for these facts is this article) then it is a fake.

Sites with fake news quite often resort to using photos taken, that is, mounted or compared in Photoshop. Again, it is quite easy to understand from such photos whether they are real or not. For example, the news about the distribution of Marshmallows by Trump, which clearly shows that the packaging of marshmallows is simply superimposed on the photo, because the colors of the objects in the photo are very different, as do the people and the figure of Trump. Obviously, they were connected in the editor.

There are also situations when people’s faces are simply covered and hidden, which does not mean that they are correct. The obvious method of determining a fake here is simply to look closely at the photo and determine whether everything looks natural, whether all the joints are similar, whether everything is made in the same style or not. In addition, you need to identify the sources of the photos, whether they can be found in the public domain and who made them. Correlate text and photos to understand whether these things correspond to each other or whether the photo emphasizes some feature or phrase in the text, which is simply drawn to the general meaning and implies an ordinary attraction of attention and nothing more.

And it is also important to use pompous words and expressions in the fake news. This concerns the use of words that color the context, thereby showing the incompetence of the source and the prepared material. News reports should be as objective as possible and not show what the author thinks about these events. You cannot just call the law “crazy”, write something nasty about a star or a public figure, and express your attitude to this person. Mass media works to give readers or viewers news, dry, without emotions. And the person who is already reading this article or watching the channel will decide for himself how to treat it. Therefore, you need to carefully read and analyze the entire text. It turns out that giving emotional coloring to words makes them seem intentionally inserted into the context. Although the title may not sound like a "hot topic", the coloring shows the lack of a neutral side of the author. This suggests that the news is fake.

The last thing I wanted to talk about, and one of the most common mistakes that many people fall for, is reading sites that themselves spread fake. These sites are made similar to real news reports, but, in fact, they are not true and only similar to real ones. For example, such as instead of or instead of etc.

Let us summarize what we should be afraid of and what we should pay attention to in order to avoid situations when we fall for fake news. Therefore, there are quite a lot of principles for creating fake news, but the most basic ones are described above. Basic points that are used in false information report are:

  • links to authoritative people, changing their opinion and turning the meaning of their words;
  • the use of incorrect facts that cannot be verified in other sources; the absence of a time frame in these facts, the presence of only people’s opinions, their emotions, and not dry facts;
  • the desire to look scientific, using vocabulary and terminology that falsely looks professional;
  • photos that are edited and do not correspond to reality in order to entrap readers or viewers;
  • use hot topics and bright headlines to attract attention;
  • use of pompous words to add emotional color to the text;
  • the photo and the text are not related, the photo emphasizes a certain phrase taken out of context.

Thus, these are the most basic methods by which fake news can be created. What you need to do to avoid falling for these traps:

  • check spelling, grammar and punctuation;
  • find out who the author of the text is, how well he is known and where he works (his reputation);
  • identify the main events and check them, whether it is a fact or an opinion of the author;
  • carefully study the text and photos, whether everything is logical and does not contradict each other; check whether there is a relationship between the photo and the text;
  • do not just read, but also analyze the text.

I hope that all the above information will help you find real news, ignore the information noise, and generally be useful. Do not trust everything that is written, but always check the sources.

Text by
Valeriia Pivovarova