Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I’m not Facebook’s biggest fan. One reason? Too Much BULLSHIT.
I literally just logged on to Facebook to visit a forum that I’m part of; and as usual on my news feed I see about three posts which are shares of dubious content.
What do I mean by dubious content?
- A headline so utterly OUTRAGEOUS it can only make the average humans blood boil. If only it were actually true.
- A statement about politics/world affairs founded on a misquote or tenuous line of proof that was long ago divorced from reality.
- One of those chain letter type things about you hating people with cancer unless you share this wanky post about cancer.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
I’ve been guilty of the same thing, absolutely. I read something so ridiculous I’ve gotta share it and warn my fellow humans or perhaps entertain them.
But then, the more you look into it, how the hell can that be true?
In fact Donald Trump (no comment) has put ‘Fake News’ in the limelight, even though he himself perpetuates it almost every time he says anything.
You’ll Never Believe Some Of These RIDICULOUS Fake News Headlines
Over the years there have been some absolute shockers that people have shared and shared again even though, you know, they’re obviously rubbish.
How about these:
- KFC Sues Chicken Farmer Over Rumours Their Chickens Have 8 Wings!
- Loch Ness Monster Spotted!
- Food Companies Use Aborted Babies In Food Products!
- Pretty Much Every Claim From Both Sides During The Brexit Debate
In fact BuzzFeed have collected the 50 biggest fake news stories of 2016 and you know that isn’t even all of them!
And just so you know, the babies in food one is very obviously not true. Proof here.
How To Spot Fake News
It can be hard to tell if a headline is true or not unless you read back into the whole story. This can involve a bit of background research such as looking for the original quote or finding the original story on one of the news wires.
As a general rule, if you see some particularly shocking headline, ask the following questions.
- Really though?
- Does that seem like something that would really happen?
- Why would anyone do that?
- Wouldn’t X have stopped that or spotted that before it happened?
- Does it mention monsters, God or other freaky stuff (in which case, definitely not true).
If you think for a second that the story or the source is even a little bit dubious, don’t share it. If you think it’s so outrageous and ridiculous that you must share it then stop for a second.
You’re gonna need to…
DO SOME FACT CHECKING!
In the same way that it is easy to share all this info, it’s equally as easy to fact check ANY story these days.
Here is how you fact check any story in about 30 seconds.
- Google the story in question – see the results.
- Add the word ‘snopes’ to the end of the search – read that result.
Snopes, for the uninitiated, is a site dedicated to exposing the crap stories which come out. It’s gone from being quite a small site to a massive one, thanks to the reams of rubbish that is generated every day.
The Best Fact Checking Websites
- Snopes: This should be your first port of call for any fact checking.
- FactCheck.org: For USA based political and social stories.
- FullFact.org: For UK based political and social stories.
- r/FakeNews: A subreddit for all to post news about fake news.
Be aware too that there are sites where anyone can make up their own fake news, which is often how these stories get into the mainstream. As of today a fake video interview was created with Barack Obama, opening up a whole new world of fake news (here’s an article about it).
So there you have it. You never need to share any outright lies ever again! I look forward to logging onto Facebook next time…
Did I hit you with the facts? Feel free to comment on your views about fake news or how to fact check below.
And please share this A LOT – on whatever social media you see fit. Lovely. Cheers.