22nd January 2024
Fake News 101: What Is It and How Can You Spot It?

If you don’t know what Fake News is or how to spot it, this blog is here to help.

We will walk you through different types of fake news, to ensure that what you choose to consume is accurate and trustworthy.

What is fake news?

Fake news is the creation of news stories which are inaccurate and untrue. These news stories are often created to look trustworthy but involve the spreading of false information to mislead people, usually for social and political gain or influence.

Fake news stories can also include misinformation and disinformation. Misinformation is the intentional or unintentional presentation of misleading information presented as fact. Whereas disinformation is deliberately incorrect information.

Why do people publish fake news?

Political agendas: fake news could be published to persuade or convince the public to vote for certain political parties, to validate specific opinions, and gain political advantage during elections.

Clickbait: Catchy headlines make fake news easier to engage with. This can generate more attention and engagement from the public with controversial and crazy stories seeming more exciting to read than other stories, even if they are false.

Believability: We know, ironic, right? But if people are targeted by certain false news stories, the reader might choose to engage with fake news as opposed to the truth which might be more difficult to face.

Different types of fake news

Satire and Parody: fake news might be published as satire to humour readers, but this has the potential to mislead people if they take the news stories as fact or read them out of context.

Biased reporting: these stories are often published to fit certain political agendas, these stories could purposely leave out certain facts to fit the agenda they are trying to promote.

Deceptive news: these are deliberate fabrications of news stories which are intended to mislead people, including false information, and sensational language. More often than not, they are created to achieve ‘clicks’ or gain financial benefits.

Misleading news: these news stories are also used to promote agendas. They often include selective small amounts of factual information which could be misrepresented, a clash of opinions or beliefs (including conspiracy theories), and often cause anger or confusion among the public.

Top tips on how to spot fake news

So, if there is so much fake news out there, how can I possibly tell what is true? Here are a few tips you can introduce to help:

  1. Check the source! A credible news story will have ample detail about the sources the journalist has used. If this information is lacking, be wary. Also, check the news account that is sharing the story, does the person who is writing this story have the correct credentials to do so?
  2. Check for an agenda! It is important to understand why a particular story you are reading has been written. Is the news story trying to influence your beliefs? Is the story trying to persuade you to think a certain way? Many publications and journalists like push certain viewpoints to influence your thinking. If so, is what they are sharing reasonable or backed up with facts?
  3. How is the story written? If the news story has a sensationalist headline, emotionally charged or controversial phrases, references outdated or incorrect information, or has poor grammar, it could be fake news. Check the origin of the article to be sure!

With the increasing circulation of news on social media, it is more important now than it has ever been to check the sources and potential agendas of your news.

We are here to help! If you have any questions or concerns about what you are reading, please get in touch with us at info@impressorg.com.

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