Fact or fake news: how to know if a news is fake or true

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Carlos Laforet Coll
@carloslaforetcoll
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How to know if the link you received on WhatsApp or saw on Facebook is fake news? Although fake news is nothing new, the term fake news has become popular in recent years. This is due to the ease of sharing website content, photos and videos through social networks and chat apps.

Often, matters of dubious content are passed on without people confirming their veracity. And, after being replicated so much, they are credited as real, even if they are not. To help, we've gathered tips and websites that help you identify whether a news story is fake or not.



1. Read the news

Most fake news goes viral thanks to their catchy titles, which catch the reader's attention. This also makes many people share the link without even reading what the news says. Therefore, an important recommendation is to read at least some of the content before deciding whether to pass it on.

The FactCheck.org website, which specializes in uncovering fake news, remembers even in legitimate reports the title does not always translate the article and can generate false expectations.

2. Investigate the author

Serious communication vehicles usually have articles signed by the authors. If the questionable story has a byline, do a little research and find out if the author has written other stories.

Be wary if the person's description is too impressive. It can also be a warning sign if your contacts do not contain a corporate email, but something generic, like @gmail.com or @outlook.com.

3. Pay attention to the URL

Check the website address for suspicious details to look like a legitimate credible page. One example is abcnews.com.co, which tries to impersonate abcnews.com.


The detail can easily be overlooked among the unsuspecting. To mislead readers, the page even includes the logo of the original media outlet.


4. Have a critical eye

The website of the security company Avira points out that fake news is often created to appear more real than the real news itself. At the same time, they try to captivate the reader by shocking him or by appealing to an emotional side.

Therefore, before getting carried away by what you read, it is important to ask some questions. For example: why was that content written or are other sites reporting the same thing?

If official sources or statistics are cited, do a search to confirm. The result of a simple Google search can be surprising.

5. Quality matters

A poorly written text can be a warning sign of fake news. Check for a lot of spelling or typos. Words in capital letters and dramatic punctuation, full of ellipsis and exclamation points are also not common in recognized media.

6. Check the publication date

Did you check all the above and didn't see anything suspicious? It is possible that the news is true, but it was created a few months or years ago. A subject taken out of context can make all the difference.

7. Analyze the images

Not only can the news be fake, but the images too. And they are increasingly common in times of editing applications that can be used by anyone to change photos.

So pay attention to details like shadows and odd edges or distorted items like the horizon line or a wall. A tip is to do a reverse search on Google, in which you can find the original version, if it is a mounted photo.



And it's not just. Deepfake apps are capable of creating videos in which they simulate people talking or acting, often in a way they never would. As it develops, the technology becomes more realistic and the contents end up going viral as if they were real.


You Won’t Believe What Obama Says In This Video! 😉

In these cases, it is necessary to pay attention to details, such as unnatural eye blinks, movement of the lips or the presence of shadows in the wrong places. As in the case of news, identify the source of the received video and find out if it is in fact reliable.

8. Ask the experts for help

There are several websites, national and international, specialized in uncovering fake news. Together, these tools work in the fight against disinformation, by investigating suspicious news that have gone viral. Below, we list the main ones:


National

  • Agência Lupa (Piauí Magazine)
  • Fact or Fake (G1)
  • The Facts
  • Proof Project
  • Uol Check

International transactions

  • Google Fact Check Explorer
  • FactCheck.org
  • PolitFact
  • Full fact
  • Snopes

recommends:

  • Apps to read the news and always stay well informed
  • How to know if a website is safe and reliable to buy online
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