Blog

#SOSMonday – Fake News?

Netflix have just released a new documentary – The Social Dilemma – which explores the rise of social media and its damage on society.

Amongst the issues dealt with is social media’s role in spreading conspiracy theories and fake news.

So today we want to test you with a selection of news headlines.

You have to decide – are they real or fake?

We will reveal the answers soon!

THE FIVE W-QUESTIONS FOR SPOTTING FAKE WEBSITES

WHERE does the information come from?
Look at the URL. Does it look familiar or credible?

TIPS
Websites with these URLs are usually legitimate: .com, .org, .net, .edu, .gov
Fake websites often have URLs that end with: lo, .com.co. Alternatively, fake URLs are incomplete.
Fake websites have similar names to authentic sites, e.g. Sky Newz (instead of Sky News).

WHEN was the post put online?
What’s the date on the post? Is the date real? Is the post recent?

TIP
Fake news is often posted on dates which don’t exist (e.g. 30 February) or on 1 April (April Fool’s Day).
Always check the date. Sometimes the news was posted years ago but is still being circulated as ‘news’.

WHO created the information?
Who wrote the article? Who took the photo?

TIPS
Real photos should always give the name of the person who took them (or explain where they come
from).
Look at photos carefully. Could they have been Photoshopped? Check suspicious photos by doing a
reverse Google image search. Other websites may have used the same photo for different news.

WHAT does the post or website look like?
Look at the layout. Is the website well presented and carefully organised?
Look at the headline. Is it sensational?
Is there an ‘About Us’ section with contact information? Are sources given for the information?
Is the spelling and grammar correct?

TIPS
Genuine websites usually look professional. They usually contain an ‘About Us’ section, contact
information, sources and links to more information.
Check the spelling and grammar. Fake websites often contain mistakes in English.

HOW do you know for certain that it’s true?
Check the content again. Does any information seem unlikely? Too good (or too amazing) to be true?

TIPS
Real news stories should appear in several news outlets, not just the one you’re looking at. Cross-check
the information with a credible website to see if you can find the same story!