5 Tips for Spotting Fake News on the Internet

Image: Bloomua / Shutterstock
Image: Bloomua / Shutterstock
How not to embarrass yourself or enable internet trolls.


Another day, another controversy from presidential candidate Donald Trump.

And University of North Texas sociology professor George Yancey has had enough.

Yancey logged on his computer and saw this headline: “Donald Trump: ‘If Black Lives Don’t Matter Here Go Back to Africa.’” Given Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants, Yancey assumed the story was true.

Fed up, he wrote an angry response on Facebook. Then he realized that the story was fake.

“You probably know about confirmation bias,” he told CT. “I was a victim of that. I saw what I expected to see.”

Yancey isn’t alone in being fooled by fake news.

This week, the stock market was hoodwinked by a story, posted at Bloomberg.market, that Twitter was about to sold. The story looked like every other story posted by Bloomberg News, and Twitter’s price began to soar.

But the story was fake, filled with misspellings and other errors, and before long Twitter’s price began to settle down.

Among other recent fake stories was this shocker, allegedly from NBC News: “Christian Pastor in Vermont Sentenced to One Year in Prison After Refusing to Marry Gay Couple.”

Only the story wasn’t from NBC. It was from NBC.com.co—a fake website, filled with ads, and hosted on an overseas website.

“We are all too gullible,” warned my friend, Ed Stetzer, this week.

Hoax stories like these are likely to become more common as hoaxers become more sophisticated, warned Dan Gillmor, a journalism professor at Arizona State who specializes in digital media.

“That means we all have to pay more attention, all the time, and take nothing immediately at face value,” Gillmor wrote.

Here’s five tips on how to spot a fake news story.

Check the source.

Be wary of stories linked to sites ending in “.ru” or “.co” or other unfamiliar domain names—especially if they are linked to a more reputable site, like NBC news, says Joel Kilpatrick, founder of Lark News, a Christian satire site. Those domains—as well as new ones like .market—are clues that a site may not be what it appears. Other sites may try to trick you by misspelling a respected news outlet’s name or leaving out a letter or two.

Another quick signs of a fake news story: “If it includes the words ‘Obama’ and ‘End times’ in the same headline, it’s probably not true,” says Kilpatrick.


Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christianity Today
Bob Smietana

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