In this day and age, it has become much easier to acquire information online. All we need to do is type what we need to find on Google, and it will present all the possible sources for us. However, not everything on the internet is true. In fact, fake news has become a big problem because of the internet, since unlike print media, blogs don’t go through an intensive editing process. So, we at AHEAD Online are here to guide you on how to sniff out credible information in a sea of fake news.
Check the Site
If you want to determine if online information is credible, then check the website. If the site is the online edition of newspapers, or a journal article, then you are good to go, since these go through intense editing, in the case of online newspapers, or peer-review, in the case of journal articles. Since their creators make an attempt to be as objective as they can, you can be sure that they are not spreading false information.
If it is Too Good to be True, Then it is Fake!
Sometimes, it is very easy to find fake news because these article spout information which is too good to be true. For instance, a website advertises a cure for HIV/AIDS. This is too good to be true since as of today, we know that HIV/AIDS can only be managed, not cured. So, if a website presents a piece of news that sounds too good, it is probably fake news,until further investigation proves otherwise.
Fake News Articles Tend to Present Outrageous Claims
If you find an article online making outrageous claims, without proof to back them up, then it is likely a piece of fake news. However, fake news or forgeries predate the Internet, for Duke Rudolf IV of Austria fabricated a document that invented the title Archduke of Austria, a hereditary title which was never seen before. Also, the document was proven to be an altered version of a document which officially turned Austria into a duchy. So, if there is no proof for an outrageous claim, then it is a piece of fake news.
Check Other Sources
Also, to determine if a piece of information online is fake news or not, what you can do is to check other sources. For example, if you see a post about the 2019 elections, please check print sources and their online versions to counter-check the validity of its claims. This is because credible media outlets tend to report the same things, since they cover the same events. Despite news outlets not being required to cite sources, counter-checking can help because it ensures that the many sources you are looking at are covering one true event.
Finally, Check the Bibliography
The best way you can check if online information is credible is to check the bibliography, especially for scientific information. The sources used can give you a clue if information is real or not because the credibility of an article is based on the credibility of sources. A scientific study that cites peer-reviewed credible journals is legitimate, unlike anti-vaccination articles, which do not cite credible sources.
Fake News is Nothing New
In the end, fake news is nothing new, since false information was already spreading even before the Web came to be (ex. Code of Kalantiaw). However, the spread of the Internet and Social Media has made it easier for fake news to proliferate. But remember, the same Internet that has made it easy for fake news to spread also provides us the tools to detect them. Use them to prevent fake news from spreading!