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More Tips on Fake News

  • Look for unusual URLs, including those that end with "lo" or ".com.co" -- these are often trying to appear like legitimate news sites, but they aren't.
  • Look for signs of low quality, such as words in all caps, headlines with glaring grammatical errors, bold claims with no sources, and sensationalist images (women in bikinis are popular clickbait on fake news sites). These are clues that you should be skeptical of the source.
  • Check a site's "About Us" section. Find out who supports the site or who is associated with it. If this information doesn't exist -- and if the site requires that you register before you can learn anything about its backers -- you have to wonder why they aren't being transparent.
  • Check Snopes [and other sites listed on this page ...] before trusting or sharing news that seems too good (or bad) to be true.
  • Consider whether other credible, mainstream news outlets are reporting the same news. If they're not, it doesn't mean it's not true, but it does mean you should dig deeper.
  • Check your emotions. Clickbait and fake news strive for extreme reactions. If the news you're reading makes you really angry or super smug, it could be a sign that you're being played. Check multiple sources before trusting.

This information came from a page on the Common Sense Media website, authored by Sierra Filucci, who acknowledged the contribution of Professor Melissa Zimdon of Merrimack College for some of the tips. 

Filucci, Sierra. "How to Spot Fake News (and Teach Kids to Be Media-Savvy)." Common Sense Media, Common Sense Education, 16 Nov. 2016, www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/how-to-spot-fake-news-and-teach-kids-to-be-media-savvy. Accessed 23 Feb. 2017.

Here are some other helpful steps to analyze news sources and tools for fact checking.
Put it to the CRAAP Test:
Currency—Can you find a date of the article or photograph? When was it last updated?
Relevance—Who is the intended audience? How does the source meet your needs?
Accuracy—Is the information supported by evidence? Does it cite other sources?
Authority—Who is the author? What are their credentials?
Purpose—Does the site give facts or opinions? Does it have a clear bias?

Evaluating Websites

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