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Fake News – What is it? & How to avoid it (as best you can!)

In recent years there has been a spike in the term ‘Fake News’, coming largely from the most recent US Election, where lots of articles floating around at the time were branded with this term, mainly by Donald Trump. Many have most likely come across or heard this term, whether it be on your Twitter timeline, local radio station or at work; but what does it actually mean?

Simply put, Fake News is information that is either a complete lie or not the whole truth. There has a been a steep increase in these types of articles being published online in recent years, as they can grasp a huge amount of attention and interaction. As well, with social media use constantly increasing, this false or exaggerated information can spread like wildfire in a matter of hours or even minutes, causing controversy wherever it goes.

The big problem with such news is its ability to divide people. A bogus news company could create a completely untrue article about how a certain political party is more effective than the other. While those who disagree with the article could claim it to be Fake News, those who believe it could say it’s completely true. People are much more likely to think a piece of information is true if it fits in with their world view, whether the point in discussion is actually correct. That is the power of Fake News and how it can easily cause discord among groups of people.

Now that you are up-to-date on what Fake News is, how can you avoid it?

The best way to avoid being fooled by these cunning articles is by being vigilant about the source of the news. Ask yourself these 4 questions:

  1. Has the news also been published by trusted sources?
  2. Is this news on television or radio?
  3. Does the website of the news company publishing the article look ‘real’?
  4. Does the URL of the news company’s website look as you’d expect? E.g., does it use .co.uk?

If the answer to any of these questions is a big NO, then you may have some Fake News on your hands.

The best course of action is to note the source it came from and report the article, so that if you encounter that specific source again, you will know it’s not a real article.

But, Fake News can be very deceiving and look completely real, with a professional looking online presence, such as a ‘legitimate’ Twitter or Facebook page.

However, if you’re wondering if a fake online news company has a better social media presence than you, topclick are here to help with our professional services. See more about our social media management and how it can boost your presence!

The Topclick Team

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