The Internet makes it incredibly easy to spread false or misleading information. A healthy dose of skepticism is in order regarding anything you may read online. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions recommends these steps for spotting “fake news”:
Consider the source. Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info.
Check the author. Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they real?
Check the date. Reposting old news stories doesn’t mean they’re relevant to current events.
Check your biases. Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgment.
Read beyond. Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What’s the whole story?
Supporting sources? Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story.
Is is a joke? If it is too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure.
Ask the experts. Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site, such as one of these:
Hoax Slayer https://www.hoax-slayer.net/
Non-partisan fact-checking site focusing on political claims made in the U.S., including statements from politicians and general political news.
One of the oldest fact-checking sites, focusing on news stories, urban legends and memes.
Long-running fact-checking site, focusing on “eRumors, fake news, disinformation, warnings, offers, requests for help, myths, hoaxes, virus warnings, and humorous or inspirational stories that are circulated by email”.
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