How to spot fake news

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!

Task 1

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Submitted by JANCYMARY on Tue, 17/05/2022 - 16:36




Thanks for your comment but next time please don't write in all capitals. Thanks :)


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ChanEzra on Sat, 19/03/2022 - 04:54


Howdy! It's me,Chan!!!
Nowadays, There are a lot of fake informations and spams that would make you upset and steal you kindness from being fake on internet.We should know how to avoid the false ones and read only useful articles. So, I think that this article is not only helpful but also interesting.I hope i can read more useful articles like this.

Submitted by Stela Stoycheva on Tue, 16/11/2021 - 13:16


I think we can meet everywhere fake news in our live- in internet, at Tv program, newspapers, verbally everyone talking about something which heard and don`t know is it true or false. Even now about COVID vaccination and people against that... Why in some country is decrease percentage of people which want to vaccinate, because of the fake news which are around us... Even have so many examples which I can present...
That title been interesting for me, as many others. I love to comment different titles and I little bit to prepare for the writing part in IELTS :)

Submitted by LamVanPhuong on Sat, 06/11/2021 - 15:19


actually i'm not sure i have ever read a fake new but it's really worrisome problem, everyone should be careful with it.

Submitted by Suraj paliwal on Sun, 17/10/2021 - 17:31


Yes, I was read lots of fake news when I was always online. I spent many hours on social media. But in this time I'm not spend time with social media. I uninstalled all social media app s.

Submitted by Minigolf on Fri, 08/10/2021 - 17:36


Thank you for sharing your ideas with us! Here is my comment to your text. Yes, i have some experience with fake news. Some time ago, me and my friends searched in the internet for a new computer. At the time, all mechanical parts are very expenisive, on the website we were lokking for not. Luckily we have read some comments before we bought one. That would have been a disaster. I like, that you share this text with us. It helps a lot. Not only for people who feel unsafe in the internet. Also for people reading newspaper. That was helpful

Submitted by Gyatso on Fri, 08/10/2021 - 17:33


A lot of fake news stories also are poorly edited. They often have grammatical errors, as well as punctuation and spelling mistakes.

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Submitted by iEdd on Wed, 21/07/2021 - 00:01

Yes, I have. But I started in the nearly past to not share them. Social media and chatting apps are excellent sources of that. The worrst I could see was how some of my relatives believe that. I know tha case of my uncle who was afrid of get vaccinated against Covid-19, when he is a university proffessor. I could not believe that. Another case I have preceived is the political fake news. Far right is using it every time with most frequency and this is a harm for democracy. Excellent article and thanks for sharing.

Submitted by GiulianaAndy on Wed, 23/06/2021 - 21:24

Yes, I have. I read a fake news story last year. It was about the source of covid-19; this illness was created by a development government to do the third word war, and suddenly I thought "That's fake news story". Nobody can talk about the source of the outbreak covid-19 because it has no sense (at least for me; it is my personal opinion)