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How to spot fake news

Read some tips for spotting fake news to practise and improve your reading skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises.

Reading text

Every time you're online, you are bombarded by pictures, articles, links and videos trying to tell their story. Unfortunately, not all of these stories are true. Sometimes they want you to click on another story or advertisement at their own site, other times they want to upset people for political reasons. These days it's so easy to share information. These stories circulate quickly, and the result is … fake news.

There is a range of fake news: from crazy stories which people easily recognise to more subtle types of misinformation. Experts in media studies and online psychology have been examining the fake news phenomenon. Read these tips, and don't get fooled!

1. Check the source

Look at the website where the story comes from. Does it look real? Is the text well written? Are there a variety of other stories or is it just one story? Fake news websites often use addresses that sound like real newspapers, but don't have many real stories about other topics. If you aren't sure, click on the 'About' page and look for a clear description of the organisation.

2. Watch out for fake photos

Many fake news stories use images that are Photoshopped or taken from an unrelated site. Sometimes, if you just look closely at an image, you can see if it has been changed. Or use a tool like Google Reverse Image search. It will show you if the same image has been used in other contexts.

3. Check the story is in other places

Look to see if the story you are reading is on other news sites that you know and trust. If you do find it on many other sites, then it probably isn't fake (although there are some exceptions), as many big news organisations try to check their sources before they publish a story. 

4. Look for other signs

There are other techniques that fake news uses. These include using ALL CAPS and lots of ads that pop up when you click on a link. Also, think about how the story makes you feel. If the news story makes you angry, it's probably designed to make you angry.

If you know these things about online news, and can apply them in your everyday life, then you have the control over what to read, what to believe and most importantly what to share. If you find a news story that you know is fake, the most important advice is: don't share it!

Discussion

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Language level

Intermediate: B1

Comments

I think there were many fake news about coronavirus. One of it tells us that Bill Gates came up with this pandemic because he wants to chip people over the world and control their minds. Adults really believed in this version and shared it to all relatives and friends on Whatsapp chats.

Every day or particularly every second, this fake news pops up in front of us. Many times I know it's fake from that I can't believe that happens. I ensure from other sites, or if I read it many times and from different sites. It is also trusted websites to ensure this information. I also don't share any news easily.

I never used to read the fake news.These are gribble and moody.

i dont have a problem with that because i use to see these fake news on social media like Facebook or other platforms , because i dont trust and care about it and i dont have to time to check if i was true or not , however we have to consider about this phenomenon ant try to stop it by dont share it with others

I have been seeing fake news story about Covid-19 on the internet for one hour, but thanks to talat, I am reading truth and current news on the BBC.

In social life, fake news will inevitably appear everywhere so I think people should clearly choice the story to read, support newspapers, magazines about the truth

Yes, I have. Sure, yes, they often have specific goals and usually have a negative impact on our lives.

I have noticed that there are plenty fake news to manipulate people. One of my friends was a victim of fake news. Person, who hated her, made up fake story with personal information on Facebook. Many people who did not the person nor my friend shared the post without any resources. It spread more than 500 shares in a day. She got depressed and still threatened by fear. Sharing a post does not cost time, but it could hurt someone. I am very concerning about this problem. We should get educated more about social media. It is the most important for us to look for a source before sharing or commenting.

for real i don't remember reading any fake stories but i think this problem is full of dangerous but i really don't care about it since i don't find the fake news at my social media or something

Have you ever read a fake news story online? Are you worried about this problem? Actually, the answer is yes.I have come across to this problem for some time. A very annoying example is when some very messages pop up while I am in my email text box that seems so real and they are not really of course. I may admit that I have been the victim of this problem for many years. Almost got scammed of the lottery winning ticket something that I had never done (think of doing in my life) while surfing for information .

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