More Americans are getting their news from the Internet and social media sites. In the past week, there has been a rise in the number of fake news websites, hoaxes, and misinformation spreading across the Internet. While both Google and Facebook have announced plans to crack down on fake news sites, separating fact from fiction is getting harder.
Here are some tips you can use to help determine if what you are reading on the Internet is true:
- Ask a librarian. Librarians are specially trained to help you find reliable, trustworthy information. You can come see us in person, but we are also available to help you over the phone or via email.
- FakeNewsWatch has compiled a list of sites that have been known to be untruthful.
- Photos can be used to deceive readers. Try using TinEye or Google reverse image search to find out where a photo originally came from. You can also use these tools to determine if a photo has been digitally altered.
- Check an article’s spelling and grammar. If an article is loaded with mistakes, it may be a giveaway that it is not legitimate.
- If something seems too good to be true, try checking it out on Snopes. Snopes is a great tool to check the validity of Internet stories.
- Make sure that the source of your information is not a satirical website. While sites like The Onion broadcast the mocking nature of their website, other sites may not be so clear.
- If you want to check political facts, try using Politifact or Factcheck.org.
- Fake social media accounts are sometimes used to spread fake stories. Check the account history of the news source. If an account was created just last week and is posting multiple news stories, you may want to take a deeper look.
- If you come across Internet scams and fake news, let people in your life know about them. Sharing can help combat the spread of misinformation.