By Hannah Holder
Blog Content Contributor
At this point in time, a majority of Americans receive their news from social media. Whether that be from news sites, opinionated blog sites, or from peers sharing their social media feed. This is not a bad thing, it is always great to stay informed. Though, the tricky part is knowing what is real news and what is fake news. The web has made it tough to differentiate between the two, that is why it is our civic duty to be able to differentiate real and fake news by ourselves.
First, check the URL. This is the easiest way to determine whether or not a source is legitimate or not. Check if the URL contains “.com.co” or anything else suspicious that follows the usual “.com”, “.org” or “.net.” If it ends in anything but those three it is probably a fake source.
Then you’ll want to study the website. All websites are unique and different, but it is definitely recognizable when a site does not look up-to-par or real. A website that is busy or not designed professionally is probably a fake source.
Check for diversity, or lack of, on your websites. This is a pretty common tactic a lot of news outlets today live by. They can be pretty bias — even the most popular news outlets. For example, Fox News is very conservative and may lean Right and CNN is know to lean Left with politics. It is best to receive news from multiple, reliable news outlets or from a news outlet that is known to not be bias. New York Times and Washington Post are two sources I find to be diverse in political opinion.
Lastly, do not fall into the popular belief. If anything, please follow this rule-of-thumb! It is so easy to get onto Facebook and read everything your friends and family are sharing or discussing. Many times, people base their opinion on what they see on their news feed (what is shared on their page) because that is their only source of news. Just because you see something on the internet and your friends or family comment on that post, does not mean it is quite accurate. Double check the facts thoroughly before you begin to form opinions!
Do not let fake news stop you from looking into news altogether, or let it make you cynical and choose to be uninformed. This is just the outcome when millions of people share or promote their opinion on social media for the world to see. It is a part of our First Amendment right — use it. Lastly, it may take time to double check your news sources, but it is best to be informed than uninformed, and better to be informed without being misinformed.
Featured image by Hannah Holder.