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Don’t get fooled: 14 Tips to Spot Fake News

Marinka Peschmann's Don't get fooled: 14 Tips to Spot Fake News

Given the term “fake news” is becoming more and more politicized to elicit responses and provoke reactions, it is more important than ever to know what to look for. 

As the volume and variety of information sources continue to grow, and the real-life consequences of fake news and defamation harm more people, let’s look at some tips to help prevent all of us from falling victim to it.

Let’s keep it real.

Who among us has never fallen victim to lies, fraudsters, and deception at some point in our lives?

Pause.

Yeah. Me too.

Fake news, as defined by dictionary.com, is “false news stories, often of a sensational nature, created to be widely shared or distributed for the purpose of generating revenue, or promoting or discrediting a public figure, political movement, company, etc.”

It is never the right time to play politics. People are getting hurt.

The truth is there are problems on both sides of the aisle and real problems that need to be fixed. Acting on fake news creates more problems that need to be fixed.

Okay, let’s go.

Help prevent from being deceived or exploited by fake news. Use these 14 tips.

Fake News Tip Sheet

  1. Be wary of sensational and clickbait headlines. Does the contents of the story match the headline?
  2. Double-check the source: Verify the credibility of the source and writer before believing and sharing news. Do they have a pattern of disseminating fake news and conspiracies?
  3. Read beyond the headline and look for supporting evidence.
  4. Probe the sources. Is the story based on a sensation, opinion, and speculation or does it provide documentation and/or links to the original and legitimate sources to back up the claims?
  5. Watch for confirmation bias. Avoid political media echo chambers. The truth is not left or right. It is what it is.
  6. Be mindful of your own biases and seek diverse viewpoints to avoid falling for fake news.
  7. Check for a contact and about page.  Is there a contact and about page or something similar? If the answer is “no,” you have found a red flag.
  8. Beware of anonymous sourcing. While there are times when it is necessary to protect sources the reason for the anonymity should be spelled out in the reporting. Anyone can claim they have anonymous sources, but that doesn’t mean it is always true, or the source is credible.
  9. Beware of manipulated images and videos. Look for inconsistencies in the image or video. Reverse image search to verify authenticity.
  10. Check the date of the publication. Is the news current? If it’s older information, is it still relevant and has it been updated?
  11. Use search engines to help double-check credibility.
  12. Beware of cherry picking. Omitting facts could change the context of the information.
  13. Consult fact-checking websites that call out falsehoods and fake news irrespective of politics. There are several fact-checking websites out there, including but not limited to: FactCheck.org, PolitiFact, Fullfact.org, NPR FactCheck, Media Bias/ Fact Check, Fact Check from Duke Reporters’ Lab and StopFake.org.
  14. Slow down and unplug. Take a break from consuming news, and be good to yourself. There will always be more information to consume tomorrow. When you are well rested, it’s easier to spot fake news when you consume information with fresh eyes.

Okay, let’s wrap this up.

I hope you have found these tips to be helpful. If you have any tips and solutions, please share them. To many people have already been harmed by fake news and defamation. We need to break the cycle. Everyone can lend a hand to help prevent more people from being hurt.

Judicial misconduct whistleblower

If you have been following me for a while, and are aware of my U.S. court cases, you would also know that I have been whistleblowing about judicial misconduct. In my related defamation cases, for example, oathbreaker legal professionals knowingly enabled the spread of fake news, QAnon and domestic extremism to thwart due justice.

So if you encounter any statements and claims about me online, and you don’t know what’s true or false kindly preserve them, and send them to me, especially if you encounter any behind paywalls. Thanks!

Thankfully not all lawyers and judges are unethical oathbreakers.

Want more free tips and solutions by using the good side of the Internet? Spend some time at How to Legal. Learn from legal professionals about the justice system and court cases when they are following their oaths and the rules at your own pace.

Hold on … are you stressed out by fake news, real news, or other challenges? Check out 16 Things to help you de-stress that won’t break the bank.

Wait!… I’m on oath-breaker watch. If you want to join me, subscribe.

Thanks for visiting. See you next time.