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Fake News or Real News: Determining the Reliability of Sources: Social Media

Fake News on Facebook

Fake news stories abound on Facebook. Most of the postings are produced by scammers looking to make money on the number of clicks these stories receive. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, says they are working on a way to weed out these stories.

In the meantimes, some creative people have come up with solutions of their own.

The Washington Post ran a story on November 11, 2016 about a group of college students who developed an algorithm that authenticates what is real and what is fake on Facebook. Read about these problem solvers at this link.

A programmer named Daniel Sieradski has developed a Chrome extension called the B.S.Detector. Read about this hoax detector at  "Rid Your Feed of Fake News With This Hoax-Detecting Chrome Extension"

What does Facebook Plan to do about Fake News?

"Some plans Facebook has for helping limit “Fake News”:

- Stronger detection. The most important thing we can do is improve our ability to classify misinformation. This means better technical systems to detect what people will flag as false before they do it themselves.

- Easy reporting. Making it much easier for people to report stories as fake will help us catch more misinformation faster.

- Third party verification. There are many respected fact checking organizations and, while we have reached out to some, we plan to learn from many more.

- Warnings. We are exploring labeling stories that have been flagged as false by third parties or our community, and showing warnings when people read or share them.

- Related articles quality. We are raising the bar for stories that appear in related articles under links in News Feed.

- Disrupting fake news economics. A lot of misinformation is driven by financially motivated spam. We're looking into disrupting the economics with ads policies like the one we announced earlier this week, and better ad farm detection.

- Listening. We will continue to work with journalists and others in the news industry to get their input, in particular, to better understand their fact checking systems and learn from them."

( from Mark Zuckerberg Facebook post;  )

 

 

facebook snopes

How to Spot a Fake Twitter Post

Check the account history of the source. Two red flags are: the number of posts and how long the account has been active. If it claims to be a well know source(like CNN or CBS) and only has a few posts in its history that is a clue. If it's a well know source and the account has only been active a short time that is another red flag.

Images of an event are often reused to deceive people. You can check if an image has been used before on a reverse image search service like TinEye.

Fake News alerts on FaceBook

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What about those memes?

So I Saw This Meme on the Internet…

How to evaluate political and current events news you see online

 

What did you see?

  • Is it a meme shared on Facebook? These can be very entertaining, but they aren’t based on fact.
  • Try Googling the information on the meme to see what websites come out to support or refute it.
  • Is it a satire site such as The Onion or the Borowitz Report? Satire is a legitimate form of political commentary, but it isn’t meant to express the literal facts.
  • Is it a nonpartisan site such as politifact.com or snopes.com? You can usually trust these.
  • Is it from a major newspaper such as the LA Times, New York Times, Washington Post? These are usually fact-based. Editorials are opinion, but usually educated opinion.
  • Is more than one news source reporting on the event or issue, or just one?
  • Can you find peer-reviewed journal articles or library books about the general topic? Even though these may not contain information on specific very recent news items, you can get a good factual background from them.

 

What should you look for?

  • Verifiable facts and statistics, not rumors or wild claims. Just because it “sounds right” or seems to confirm something you already believe doesn’t mean it is actually true.
  • Citing sources – just as you cite sources in your research papers, Internet news should do the same. If they don’t clearly state where they got their information, there is no evidence for it being correct.
  • Who paid for or sponsored the content? If you can find out who supports it, you can see what viewpoint it is coming from.
  • Does the website URL end in “lo” or “com.co”? These are usually not legitimate news sources.
  • The website should have an “About Us” or similar tab to let you learn more about them.
  • Who is the author? Is he or she a subject expert or a professional journalist? If not, or if you can’t find out who the author is, be careful about trusting the material.
  • Try using an advance Google search to search only .gov or .edu 

Adapted  with permission from Kyri Freeman, Barstow Community College Library