The growth of the internet and social media has made it very easy for fake news stories to proliferate. Whereas some sites are intentional in writing false, but humorous stories, there are some sites that work hard to pass themselves as real and others only see to peddle salacious false tales just to drive traffic and enjoy ad revenue to the sites.
Social media on the other hand makes it very easy for people to spread the misinformation which at the end of the day brings about lots of confusion. It is important to try and verify how true a story is before sharing. Below are a few pointers that should raise an eyebrow that the story you are about to share is fake to save you the embarrassment when the truth comes out.
1. Missing links, references, citations and author
One of the most obvious red flag when it comes to fake news is missing links and references to help you validate the information shared. Popular sites may miss references and citations, but most other sites will have them. You may also find that the name of the author is the story is missing or if it exists, you can’t find anything credible about the author when you do a search on them.
2. The news source has a reputation of shadiness
Where you get news stories should guide you on whether they are true or likely to be fake. The reputation the source of news has can say a lot about its credibility. If a source is known to constantly spread fake news, then it is highly likely that the interesting story you are about to share is fake. Most news stories from such sites or sources will seem just as incredulous when you take a look at them.
3. No other site or news source carries a similar story
If you can’t seem to find anything similar from reputable new sites and websites even though the story seems to be hot news, then something is definitely wrong. Failure in finding anything similar should tell you that the author never did any research or is simply sharing their personal opinion on a given topic and not factual news.
4. Grammatical and spelling worries
Reputable news sources take their time to go through the texts and to actually edit as appropriate before posting them. They actually have proofreaders whose work is to correct all grammatical and spelling errors present. An author who is hastily posting information will not have the time to go through the text over and over to make such corrections. If you keep noticing errors as you go through the text, you are most probably dealing with a fake story.
5. Mismatch between headline and article content
The headline persuades you to believe before you even read and also tells you what the story is about. Fabricated headlines are there to attract attention, but it is best to read through the content before believing. Most fake stories will have mismatching details between headline and the content you actually get.