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10 Ways to Spot a Fake News Story


If you see a headline like this, you know it's made-up. Other times, it's not so easy to spot fake news. ©iStockphoto.com/DNY59
If you see a headline like this, you know it's made-up. Other times, it's not so easy to spot fake news. ©iStockphoto.com/DNY59

Back in the old days, when people got their news mainly from papers, magazines, radio and television, it was generally easy to figure out when someone was pulling your leg. Pretty much anything in the National Enquirer was suspect, for example. That tabloid often featured stories with outrageous headlines, such as, "Woman Gives Birth to Alien." We may laugh at such titles, but what's not so funny is that in the last decade or two, with the growth of the Internet and social media, fake news stories and entire fake news sites have proliferated.

Some sites intentionally write false, humorous stories under the satire genre.A prime example is The Onion. Many people realize The Onion is a satirical publication. But if there's any doubt, it's pretty clear if you click on the site's "About Us" tab. The information there says, among other humorous bits, "The Onion now enjoys a daily readership of 4.3 trillion and has grown into the single most powerful and influential organization in human history," and, "The Onion uses invented names in all of its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized."

But many other fake news sites intentionally try to pass themselves off as real, either by never disclosing their satirical nature or hiding the disclosure deep within their website. Still others are just peddling false and salacious tales to drive traffic to their site and rake in ad revenue — something easy to do when social media allows the rapid spread of misinformation.

So how can you ensure you're not being bamboozled? We have 10 tips to get you started.


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