Today, it’s more important than ever to make sure you don’t fall victim to fake news and unreliable information from the internet. The internet makes it easy for almost anyone to publish an article and spread information that may be false about hot topics. Social media has transformed the way the public gets and digests news stories. Here are some ways you can stop the spread of fake news and avoid getting false information.
Check the Web Address
The first big thing to check as a critical reader is the web address of the site the article is from. Some types of web URL addresses are more reputable than others. Generally, if the site address ends in .gov or .org, it tends to be more reputable than other sites. Additionally, there are some fake news sites that are published to mislead on purpose and use real logos of actual news organizations. The way to spot these fake sites is to look at the web address. You’ll see the address ending in .co instead of .com.
Another thing to check when evaluating a source is the author. If the article doesn’t list an author, that’s a red flag that the information may not be accurate. Do a quick search for the author on your browser to see if any troubling information pops up. Usually, anyone involved in biased political organizations may have a specific agenda or viewpoint that could influence the way they write an article.
Look at the Publishing Date
Outdated information is also something that could potentially mislead or misinform people, so always check the date of publishing before spreading information to your online friends. Some people have been duped by well-meaning social media friends who have shared news articles from years ago. New information about scientific topics should always be from articles that have been published more recently instead of years ago.
Review the Publisher
The publishing site is also important when looking at news sources. Some sites are known to be biased to one end of the political spectrum. If you spend some time reviewing other articles on the site, you can get a better idea of whether or not there is a bias. It’s also smart to do a search for the publishing site on fact-checking sites to see if any red flags pop up about the site’s history of credibility.
Find Credible Sources
For the most important issues, it’s essential to get your information from credible sources. Credible sources include the top national news organizations and newspaper publishers, educational institutions, government agencies, and academic journal publishers, such as Bentham Science. Organizations like Bentham Science Publishers and other academic groups have strict publishing guidelines that ensure the information you get is accurate and reliable.
Do Some Research
It’s also smart to do some research about the subject of the article if you’re not sure the facts are true. If an article is being shared by the people in your social network and you’ve spotted some inaccuracies, start talking about some of the misleading information to your friends to avoid misinformation campaigns. Check out some of the claims from the article from a fact-checking organization to get more details.
Look at the Language
The last thing to review from an article to help keep fake news out of your inbox is the language. Articles with spelling or grammatical errors may not be reliable information. Some articles are actually written by artificial intelligence machines, and there are tools to spot those, but reading carefully may be your best defense.
It’s vital to be a critical thinker and reader with news and media from today’s world. So much information online is inaccurate, false, or fake, and more people can stop being victims of fake news if they questioned and researched instead of hitting the share button right away.