10 Ways to Spot a Fake News Story

It Reveals a Cure for a Major Illness
If you read an article where some major affliction has been cured — and the story is only on one website — be skeptical. BSIP/UIG via Getty Images

Humans are not only fascinated by potential disasters, but by illnesses, diseases and human-caused conditions (like global warming or pollution). That's why another type of fake news story is so prevalent —the curing of a major illness or disease, or the solution to an important human-race issue, such as the lack of clean drinking water. It's certainly possible — and would be fantastic — if cancer was cured tomorrow. Or Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer's. Or if we found a means of delivering clean water to everyone in need. But as of 2015, no cure for those serious diseases is on the horizon, and far too many people still need access to clean water [source: Wong].

So if you read an article where some major affliction has been cured, be skeptical. Especially if the cure was discovered by, say, a kid, or involves something either very strange (boiled monkey brains) or far too easy ("Just eat a banana a day to be cancer-free!"). And if an article claims our clean-water woes are over, don't perform cartwheels just yet. Often there are seeds of truth in such stories. Perhaps one small study found promise in a cancer treatment, for example, but the ensuing story blew it all out of proportion. It's not fun to always be suspicious about what you read, but it's generally pretty smart.