Fake news, Source: Unsplash

4 steps to recognize fake news

4 steps to recognize fake news

How to properly orient yourself in the media world

There is a need to stay knowledgeable about everything happening around us. A large part of modern society now informs itself by reading news from social media or dedicated websites. However, with the lack of rigid standards, it is important to regard the information we consume with care – is it real or is it fake?

Here are 4 steps which could help you recognize if the news item you are reading is authentic and reliable.

Check the website name and history

In our digital era, everybody can have their own website. It often happens that somebody shares a link to an interesting article, but we do not know who's behind the reporting website.

So, it’s a good idea to check the history of the website in question. For example, on Google, you can find more about the organization or person that owns the domain. You can also find out how authoritative it is. A good way to do this is - a tool mainly used to analyze a website's link profile or keyword rankings.

You can also use Ahrefs to conduct keyword research for Google, YouTube, and Amazon. Many people use Ahrefs to find content that has performed well (in terms of social shares and/or links) on a given topic.

Look out for fake photos or spelling mistakes

Some websites do not have the resources to hire an editor to verify and approve the articles. As a consequence, the news pieces could sometimes look chaotic or badly written. This is an indicator that this article could be fake, or at the very least unintentionally misinformation.

You could also try some tools and browser extensions that identify Photoshopped pictures or fake statements, such as “Google Reverse Image Search” or “Fake news debunker by InVID & WeVerify”.

Check the article’s name and its facts on Google

Since online resources are unlimited, anyone could check the validity of any article on any website. This happens so fast that it takes mere seconds with the help of a search engine.

If you have any suspicions about a piece of writing, it is good advice to see if the article is being circulated on other websites. It doesn’t have to be the same article, but at least verify that its core info has been shared (or debunked) on other platforms.

Research the article’s author

Another question that you need to ask yourself when deciding whether the text is potentially disinformative is “Who is the author?”.

If the author is an anonymous person or not even mentioned this could be potentially problematic but it also depends on the authority of the website.

It’s a good idea to check the author’s writing history – are they real and trustworthy, do they have a good reputation and background, are they writing about their specific area of expertise? It is very important to pay attention to their education, university contribution (if there is any), position on public issues in society and sometimes their political views.

This article is part of Read Twice – an EU-funded project, coordinated by Euro Advance Association that targets young people and aims to counter disinformation and fake news by enhancing their skills to assess critically information, identify vicious and harmful media content and distinguish between facts and opinions, thus improving their media literacy competences.

The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of its author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union.



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