Fighting Fake News Online

by Modis on January 10, 2017

Mark Twain once famously wrote, “A lie spreads halfway around the world while the truth is still getting its boots on.” This is a very fitting quote when looking at the Being able to identify fake newsrapid growth of fake news coverage that we experience today on the internet.

During the 2016 election, social media giant, Facebook, fell under heavy scrutiny after allegedly generating false news coverage surrounding the Presidential election. Although fake news online is nothing new, the Facebook incident opened the public’s eyes to the magnitude that it can be spread and the huge impact that it can have on our lives.

Facebook Cracks Down

The outrage that resulted from the fake news coverage was so great, that the platform had to take immediate action moving forward. We have listed their plans below for you to check out:

  • In the future, users will be able to report any coverage that seems unreliable by clicking a button on the top right corner of the story. This will send an alert to the site to start evaluating.
  • If Facebook believes that a user has found fake news, it will then ask a group of partnering sites/journalists to fact-check. This group includes: ABC News, Politifact, FactCheck, Snopes and The Associated Press (just to name a few).
  • If a story turns out to be fake following the review, Facebook will attach a banner that says “disputed” at the top of the story.
  • The site is also adjusting their algorithms so that these disputed stories will not receive as much traction as real stories.
  • Lastly, because Facebook will not be removing any news coverage, if someone tries to share a disputed story, the user will get a message asking if they really do want to spread that story.

Looking to the Future of Fake News

Only time will tell if Facebook’s plan (along with others) will cut down on the spread of fake news but in the meantime, we have put together a list below of things that you can do right now to fight the faux.

Check Out the URL

Head straight to the source. If you are unsure about the credibility of a website, first look at the actual URL that is attached to the story. The site may use a popular news source at the beginning but when viewing the entire URL in a separate window you may see a random letter placed at the end. This is a sign that the article you are viewing is actually not from the trusted news source that is mentioned at the beginning.

Visit Fact-Checking Websites

While modern technology has brought us numerous false news sites, it has also ushered in websites designed specifically to combat these fakes. We have listed a few of our favorites below:

Research, Research, Research

One of the best ways to fight fake news in the media is to become the detective and seek out the truth for yourself. While there are tools to help in this endeavor, nothing beats simply researching the information on your own. By staying up-to-date on topics of interest, it will become easier to spot the fakes. Research has also suggested that consumers should add a digital/print subscription to a reputable newspaper and/or magazine to their news consumption. These organizations typically have hired reputable journalists that are working tirelessly to bring accurate, truthful news to the world.

The fight against digital fake news has only just begun, leading to an exciting and challenging future for those working in IT. Let us know some ways you are fighting fake news in the comments section below!

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