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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 have believed in fake news several times. It’s not easy for me to determine if the news conveys the right information, the wrong information, or the coverage that gives a particular image. But we need to get the right information. So I thought we had to make sure that the information was correct in many places, instead of believing it completely at once. In addition to that, I also thought about what purpose it was reported in such a way. After reading this text, I would like to get a lot of information so as not to be confused by fake news. That’s very important.

Yes of course I have many times read fake news. And it is almost right information which includes the passage's. And also I want to add that sometimes the governments may use this fake stories. Unfortunately this is a huge problem of each country. I am worried about this fake story. Because many people believe and trust these stories and they can't afford fakes desires. I have seen many example. Particularly the people who doesn't like to search and self-educate believe easily. And then they do what they say.

I had read the news I think it's totally fake, I read that from Facebook someone posted it and then I clicked it, first the address is weird to link in other sites, second it's had so many ads, third the written is bad felt all information is a mess up. In my point of view, I think it is easy to recognize what is true I think just trust some official and well-known sites will be fine, no to the level of worried but feel annoyed.

In my point of view fake news are negative plague of information sharing. Especially dangerous in situations when a news concerns public relation aspects, for example accident in nuclear plant.

Yes, especially when I am looking for courses..

Of course I really often read fake stories, especially on social media. But, at that time, I didn't really mean on them. Now, I realize that the fake stories really bothering me. They can make us to blame other people easily and drive peoples' opinion. So, we must be careful when we read or watch the news.

For these days specially I've read some fake news, yes.
I'm worried about because there are people who believe everything they read and can easily get anxious or bad and also they share those news without confirming, making other people to get confused or bad too

I've read a lot of fake news, especially when election time in 2019. Many of them ar contained hate speech, irrelevant data and information, and try to drive people's opinion.

I often read some fake news on social media, especially facebook, and I don't really know why that news has been publied and what is its purposes, but I don't usually worry about it because I have already know that isn't true !

Yes. Was horrible because I shared that fake-news in a WhatsApp Group of the Colombian Red Cross and they scolded me.

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