How to spot fake news

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

Instructions

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

Download
Worksheet62.91 KB

Language level

Do you need to improve your English reading skills?
Join thousands of learners from around the world who are improving their English reading skills with our online courses.
Average: 3 (1 vote)
One of the best comment i have ever seen on this site.Well done!

Submitted by katyatorres on Tue, 08/09/2020 - 05:12

Permalink
It is not usual for me to see false news but when I see them I easily fall into them, because I easily believe what is said there, of course it is worrying for me because I fall into their trap quickly.

Submitted by Roblox on Mon, 07/09/2020 - 20:36

Permalink
I have read fake news. It doesn't bother me much because I am not interested in politics.

Submitted by mony13246 on Tue, 25/08/2020 - 14:39

Permalink
We should be careful about what we share on social media, we have a lot of fake news every day.

Submitted by Nobu1230 on Mon, 10/08/2020 - 08:47

Permalink
I've never seen fake news online.I'm not willing to see SNS and other information resources online.My resoure is official site and reliable site only.

Submitted by Risa on Thu, 06/08/2020 - 15:42

Permalink
I have ever read some fake news and it made me confuse. I know that every news article may not be a fact, but I sometimes accept online news too easily. So, I 'm trying to search a lot of online news article. I think not only online news but also TV news is convey fake news and information, because it's possible to do media manipulation. We should take a lot of information from some kinds of media like newspaper, radio, internet, SNS and TV. Then, we think the information that we need the most. Also, it is important to have own opinion and thought. I still think about how to get along media and want to be careful. 
Profile picture for user Hennadii

Submitted by Hennadii on Tue, 04/08/2020 - 12:27

Permalink
I read a lot of fake news recently. Sadly but my motherland became a victim of another country. Many people have died (and still die) trying to protect our country from occupants. Of course, such a situation impossible without tons of fake news. And we have them tons of tons. Some of them look like the real ones and many people in my country believe in them which makes the situation even worse. Our last election has also been covered with the mud of fake news. Most of them were produced in our enemy-country and it made a huge impact on the election's result. Sadly, but lots of people in my motherland can't separate the fake news from the real information.

Submitted by NANAKA on Mon, 03/08/2020 - 09:00

Permalink
Yes, I have read some fake news stories online and take it too seriously. These days, I saw that some shops are badly affected by false rumors of people infected with COVID-19. It's impossible to crack down on everything people post online.When did Japanese people become so stupid? One should exercise caution when sharing information on the internet. Once you upload something on the internet, you can't completely delete it. Don't believe everything on the internet. Think in a calm manner, or else you'll make a mistake. Take care!!