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Ever wonder if all the information you see on television or in the news is totally true? Here are several ways to spot fake news and fact check social media posts and news reports. 

Enoch Pratt Library recommends assessing the source of the information. In an online guide titled “Fake News: How to Spot It,” they suggest asking the following questions:

  • Do you know the person behind the presentation of the material?
  • Is there a byline or introduction, and are you aware of the person’s expertise?
  • Is the author listed on the site, or is there an “about me” section?
  • Does the organization have an “about us” link?
  • What is the name of the organization creating or hosting the content?
  • Look at the URL. Does it have a tilde ~ in it? This is frequently a personal site.
  • Check for the ending of the website’s URL: .gov, .edu, .mil, and .org are more credible than websites that end in .com, .net, and many others.
  • Search the Internet for more information about the author.
  • Search LinkedIn, a social media site for professionals.
  • Search an online library catalog to see what books the author has written.
  • Search online research databases to see what the author has written/published.
  • Is this a firsthand account, or is this being seen through the eyes of an editor?

Source: Enoch Pratt Free Library: Research

Mind Tools

Mind Tools recognizes that it can be difficult to discern fake news from real news. In an article titled “How to Spot Real and Fake News,” they lists six steps to follow when fact checking a story:

  1.  Develop a Critical Mindset
  2.  Check the Source
  3.  See Who Else Is Reporting the Story
  4.  Examine the Evidence
  5.  Don’t Take Images at Face Value
  6.  Check That it “Sounds Right”

Source: How to Spot Real and Fake News

Snopes

And, Snopes provides a “Field Guide to Fake News sites and Hoax Purveyors” that list sites commonly associated with reporting fake news. Included in the list are:

  • National Report 
  • World News Daily Report
  • Huzlers
  • Empire News
  • News Examiner
  • NewsBuzzDaily

Source: Snopes’ Field Guide to Fake News Sites and Hoax Purveyors

Research

Most importantly, do your own research. Fact checking the media has never been easier.