How To Spot Fake News Online

This is a short article to help online users to identify and prevent the spread of fake news or misinformation online.

How To Identify fake Information Online

Have you ever come across any information online that you believed, probably shared it on your social media platform. And then found it to be 'FALSE.' Well, if you have to worry no more. I will enlighten you on how to spot fake news online. 

What is fake news?

According to Wikipedia, "fake news is false or misleading information presented as news." and the term false news was first used in the 1890s when sensational reports in newspapers were common.

In my own definition, "fake news is information that has been proven false and is gotten from unverified sources."

As a Mass Communication Student, I know for a fact that the spread of fake news has damaged the reputation of certain individuals and has misled people into making wrong verdicts and decisions.

Take, for instance, Two Nollywood Actors, Olu Jacob and Pete Edochie, that were once rumored to be dead. I came across much content on social media writing on the deaths of these actors, and such posts were being re-shared by other people. Before you know it, People are writing farewell speeches and Tributes to these healthy and robust veteran Actors online.

I once read in the news about a popular Nigerian musician, Davido, who sued a Newspaper Establishment for publishing a news story that He and Chioma had broken up. This news was published when the couple were still deeply in love with each other and was making headlines with their love.

There are many other instances where fake news has proven to be a menace to the Nation.

how to identify fake news online

1. Identifying the source: when reading a news story or any information posted online, be sure to check the site's contact information. Know its mission. Make a quick research on the site to know if it is legal and trustworthy.

2. verification of the author: every news story has a credit line above it that contains the name of the writer of the news story. Make a research on the author by ensuring a check on the credibility of the author.

3. Check the date: be sure to check for the date that the information or news story has been published. Is the story timely or not.

4. Consultation of the fact-checking site: to check for the credibility and authentication of the facts presented in the news story, whether they are true.

5. Reading Beyond the Headlines: in order to be able to identify fake news online, read beyond the headlines. Sometimes headlines are exaggerated in order to get people to click on the story, thereby generating income for the site owners. Countless times people have read news stories that do not relate to the headline; for example, you come across a story with the headline "Regina Daniels cheats on her husband Ned Nwoko" only to read the full story, and it is talking about a particular scene of an old movie where she probably played the role of someone's wife. Countless times are headlines not related to the main story, And it is a tactic to get people to read or patronize the site.

With the above information, you should be able to identify fake news stories online and help prevent their spread.

If you found the above article useful, be sure to hit the like button and leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

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