How to Spot a Bullshit Article on Social Media

How to Spot a Bullshit Article on Social Media

According to a Pew Research Center report, about 63% of users on Facebook and Twitter get their news from these two platforms. So while this is good for disseminating information, it also means that rumors or fake news articles spread even faster.

How can you then stay informed without falling for a hoax? Here are some things that you can do on social media:

  1. Check the website where the story is from.
    Knowing more about the website where the article is posted on can help you tell if a story is legit. For example, some websites such as The Adobo Chronicles, So What’s News?, and The Professional Heckler (Philippine news) or The Onion (world news) post only satire or parody articles. These kinds of websites often have a disclaimer on their “About Us” sections saying that the articles they post are not all true.

    Other websites may also post sensationalized versions of an article, exaggerating small details. Some may even have reshared an outdated story that has since been redacted or corrected. And then there’s the worst—fake versions of legitimate news websites. These sites just mostly add a rouge letter to the URL of the original website. Example: washingtonpost.com versus washingtonposts.com.

    Hence, before you click that share button, check the dates of article first, the URL of the website, and other parts of the website itself.

  2. Do a bit more research and check out other websites.
    If there’s no other reputable website reporting about a specific event, then it might be fake. This is especially true for big stories that sound too good (or bad) to be true. If you’re skeptical about a specific story, it’s best to check out other news websites or even Snopes.com for verification.

    However, some legitimate news websites may also end up reporting rumors. There’s even a Filipino slang term for it: So before you hit the share button on a news article, you have to check the source. If the legitimate news articles all link back to one source of information, and that source doesn’t look familiar, feel free to be skeptical.
     

    Even in this age of citizen journalism, it still pays to cross-check with legitimate news websites, as those have editors that fact-check the work done by reporters. That, and a little Googling won’t hurt!

  3. Run a Google Reverse Image Search or TinEye search.

    Some unscrupulous websites steal images about other events, then use it to make their fake article look true. They sometimes even add fake captions or edit the photos themselves to add an air of legitimacy to the fake story.

    To spot stolen images, simply copy the image URL or save the photo on your hard drive. Then upload it to TinEye or Google Reverse Image Search. If the same photo appears on other websites but with completely different captions, then the article you got it from may be a fake.

These 3 ways are just some tips to help you blow the cover on a fake news story. But with tricksters getting more sophisticated every day, the best piece of advice is this: read everything on the internet with a critical eye.

Have you been fooled by a fake news article before? What was the weirdest true story you ever read online? Let us know on our Facebook page!


Clara Buenconsejo
Clara Buenconsejo

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