Fake news is a term that is widely used when it comes to information found on digital media. We are all surrounded by a countless number of media and it can be very overwhelming sometimes. Not knowing if the information is true or false can be difficult and frustrating. In this text, I will talk about the different methods one can use to distinguish between fake and real information. I will also use these techniques on a news article and explain why this article is fake.
When you read a news article on the internet it is important to evaluate the story, whether it is legitimate or not. The first and simplest way to do this is by looking at their way of writing. If you see a lot of spelling errors and poor grammar, you should consider the option that the article is fake. Reliable content should meet some academic standards, this doesn’t mean that advanced vocabulary and complicated sentence structures should be used. Content that is legitimate should be written clearly, support its claims with facts and proof and be free of grammatical errors. “RUSSIAN SCIENTISTS DISCOVER CURE TO HOMOSEXUALITY” is an article that does this, which makes it tough to spot if it is unreliable or not. This article is free of grammatical errors and does support its claims with facts, which brings me to my second point.
When an article claims an issue it is important to back the claims up with facts. Often reliable sources have expert quotes that support the story’s claims. This indicates that the story is authentic and that there is a journalist behind the article that has done research. For example, if a news article is written about a cure for a disease, it should include quotes from doctors that are specialist in that area. The quotes should also be consistent and not out of context. The “RUSSIAN SCIENTISTS DISCOVER CURE TO HOMOSEXUALITY” article includes some quotes, but they are not consistent. For example, an institute named “Russian Institute for Medical Science” which is located in Novosibirsk is mentioned in the article, but there is no such institute in Novosibirsk.
Backtracking is another simple way of spotting if an article is fake or not. A lot of news articles often include pictures in their article. When this is done, the photographer should be named under the picture. Unreliable sources do often use unoriginal pictures found on the internet. One can find out if the photo is original or not by reverse image searching. If you find out that the photo used in the article is stolen or used by other media organizations, keep in mind that the article might not be trustworthy. The picture used in the “RUSSIAN SCIENTISTS DISCOVER CURE TO HOMOSEXUALITY” shows a syringe being injected into a child’s arm. Below the picture, there is no name of the photographer as there should be. There is no reference to the source of the picture either. By reverse searching the image, I found out that, not only was the picture stolen from the internet but also, it was used in at least four other fake articles. A credible news article should always include its own photography, and it is very clear that this article is fake.
Reverse searching the image is very important as mentioned in the paragraph above, but more important is reverse searching the author. The reason for finding out who the author is, is to figure out if they are a knowledgeable source. This is done by looking at their previously published articles and their professional experience. When you search for the author, it is important that you cross reference your findings. The information you have found might not be consistent and might be fake. In some cases, there is no by-line stating the name of the article’s author. In that case, the article is fake. In the article “RUSSIAN SCIENTISTS DISCOVER CURE TO HOMOSEXUALITY”, the name of the author is to be found nowhere. This is a clear indication that the article is not reliable and not legitimate.
Fake news has become a huge part of our life without our knowing and it will continue being so. For the future, we need to learn how to distinguish between fake and real news.