How To

10 Tricks for spotting “fake news”

10 Tricks for spotting “fake news”
Nacho Requena Molina

Nacho Requena Molina

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“Is this article real or fake?” At some point, you’ve asked yourself this question while reading online. That’s normal. Sites with fake news haven’t stopped growing worldwide, so it’s hard not to doubt, well, everything. That’s why Softonic is bringing you ten tricks to spot “fake news.”

10 Tricks for spotting “fake news”

1. The URL

Hands down, this is the most basic tip: look carefully at the address hosting the news. If it’s a fake website, it will likely imitate the original in almost every way. “Almost” is the key here: an “i” instead of an “l,” for example and the trick is complete. Check each and every detail of the site carefully.

2. Headlines

Generally speaking, fake websites usually have shocking news with large headlines, capital letters for every word, exclamation points, and similar stylistic elements.

3. The source

When reading an article, look carefully where it comes from. Try to access the original link to take a look. Maybe it’s not what it seems.

4. Formatting

Though even good newspapers can have errors, websites with fake news don’t usually take care to avoid spelling mistakes. These sites stand out for this type of clumsy writing, full of inconsistencies and with very bad grammar. It’s hard to miss.

5. The date

If you think you’ve got a fake article, look carefully at the publication date. Thanks to Google, you can find out if the information is from the past, or if somebody spread false information. It’s definitely more common than you think.

6. Photos

If the date is a huge giveaway, photos are, too. Funnily enough, it’s typical for photos accompanying news articles to be old. Google can help you solve this mystery as well.

7. The author

Look for the author of that article on major social networks, especially Twitter. The blue bird is great for verifying profiles. An article coming from somebody with a verified blue tick isn’t the same as somebody with an egg as a profile image who has never tweeted.

8. Jokes

It’s one thing if the news is fake… and another if it’s a joke. There are a dozen humor and satirical sites that play with this double edge. Logically, you can usually figure this out with a few clicks, though many people end up spreading it as news. Just ask The Onion…

9. Other media sites

Our advice is to verify if other sites have also published that same news piece. Likewise, check out foreign websites, which can be another good way to find out if it’s fake news or not.

10. Don’t share it

Our final tip is the wisest of all: don’t share it. If you think the news you’re reading could be fake, why share it? You could be part of the problem. Help out the rest of us and don’t share.

Nacho Requena Molina

Nacho Requena Molina

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