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Fake News: 10 Tips to Help You Identify and Avoid Misleading News

Fake news is a type of yellow journalism. It is written and published to gain financially or politically.

Facebook, Google, and other tech companies have been trying so hard to control spreading fake news. They are using different technologies including artificial intelligence and machine learning to limit misinformation and false articles.

In this post, we’ll share 10 tips and tricks -thanks to Facebook- to help you identify fake and misleading news stories and stop sharing them on Facebook and other social networking sites.

Fake News

1# Be Skeptical Of Headlines

False news stories often have sensational, exaggerated, or deliberately false headlines that grab attention. Fake news often uses eye-catching headlines to increase readership, online sharing and Internet click revenue.

2# Closely Check URLs

Facebook said that a “phony or look-alike URL may be a warning sign of false news.” False news sites try to mimic authentic news sources by making small changes to the URL. Go to the site to compare the URL with established sources.

3# Investigate Sources

Make sure that the story is written by a reliable source. The source must have a reputation for accuracy. If the story comes from an unfamiliar organization, go to “About Us” section on the website to learn more about the organization and publisher.

4# Unusual Formatting

False news sites have misspellings or awkward layouts. Read carefully if you see these signs.

5# Consider Photos and Videos

According to Facebook, false news often contains manipulated images or videos. Sometimes, the photo may be authentic but taken out of context. So, users should search for the photo or image to verify its source.

6# Inspect Publishing Dates

Fake news may contain timelines that make no sense. Or there could be event dates that have been altered. So, pay attention to dates.

7# Check Sources

You should check the author’s sources for the accuracy. Lack of evidence or citation of unnamed experts may indicate a false news story.

8# Look at Other Sources and Sites

If no other news organization is covering the same story, it may indicate that the story is false. If the story is reported by multiple trusted sources, it’s more likely to be true.

9# Is Story Joke?

Sometimes, false news stories can be hard to differentiate from humor or satire. So, check whether the source is known for parody and whether the story’s details and tone suggest it may be just for fun, according to Facebook.

10# Intentionally False Stories

Some stories are intentionally false. Think critically about the stories you read and only share stories that you know to be credible.

“False news is harmful to our community, it makes the world less informed, and it erodes trust,” Facebook executive Adam Mosseri said in a statement. “We need to work across industries to help solve this problem: technology companies, media companies, educational organizations and our own community can come together to help curb the spread of misinformation and false news.”

(Courtesy of Facebook)

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Based in Saudi Arabia, Siraj has a strong understanding of and passion for accounting and finance. He has worked for international clients for many years on several projects related to the stock market, equity research and other business, accounting and finance related projects. Siraj is a published financial analyst on the world's leading websites including SeekingAlpha, TheStreet, MSN, and others.