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Top 10 Tips for Spotting Fake News

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Top 10 Tips for Spotting Fake News

Online searches for the term “fake news” saw a huge spike in November of 2016, when made-up political articles generated millions of likes, tweets, and shares. Although the public is becoming more cautious of the validity of trending stories, fake news still seems to be an issue. Earlier this week, Facebook added a box to the top of its Newsfeed, educating users on how to better spot false stories.

Although Facebook is working on eliminating the spread of fake news, you're still likely to run into a false story while browsing the web. According to Facebook, here are 10 things you should be paying attention to:

1. Headlines

False stories may make use of all caps letters and exclamation points to get your attention. Think critically about what the headline is trying to convey. If the headline itself sounds unbelievable, dig deeper before sharing it.

2. URLs

False news sites are known to try to closely resemble URLs of authentic sources. Verify whether the URL leads to an authentic source or a look-alike site.

3. Sources

Check to see whether the story is coming from an accountable source. Learn more about an organization and their biases before trusting its content.

4. Unusual Formatting

If you notice odd formatting, typos, and poor grammar, it's likely that the content isn't coming from a reputable source.

5. Photos

Check to see if the photos used in a particular article are manipulated or used out of context.

6. Dates

Fake news sources are known to contain illogical timelines and altered dates. Pay attention to these!

7. Evidence

Which sources or experts does the author refer to? Double check to make sure they're accurate.

8. Other Reports

Are other reputable news sources covering the story? If no one else is reporting on it, it may be false.

9. Parody

Check for tone. Some articles are meant to be satirical.

10. Intention

You can't keep people from publishing false information, and unfortunately, it's the intention of some sources to publish attention-grabbing stories, whether they are true or not. Think critically before sharing information that could be false.

If you spot a story you believe is false, you can click on the down arrow next to a post to report it to Facebook. When choosing a reason, select, “It's a false story,” and then select “Mark this post as false news.”

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LA native, lifelong learner, and member of #TeamOxfordComma. Happiness is perpetually being in the write, rewrite, edit cycle.

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