After the 2016 election in the United States, some of the largest companies online have taken steps to prevent the spread of fake news. Facebook updated its advertising policy to include fake news under misleading content. Google claims that sites that share fake news won’t be able to use its online advertising service. These stances combined indicate that many publishers are aware of how dangerous it can be to allow misinformation to spread online and reputations to be ruined. Anyone in the field of journalism should be aware that fake news isn’t a new problem. There have always been inaccurate reports that are filled with errors, and even reports that are actively deceptive. Unfortunately, the internet has made it even easier for these kinds of stories to spread. From the problem of clickbait to issues with confirmation bias, fake news is a serious threat.
This is why The Doe came into existence – the site was created to prevent the spread of unverified news, while at the same time offering an anonymous platform where writers didn’t have to fear the repercussions of telling the truth. It’s a honourable platform that aims to stop fake news and we had the chance to discuss fake news with them and in turn that work went into this story
Basic Rules and Things to Look Out For
It’s important for journalists to follow a few basic rules so that they don’t fall into the fake news trap. These simple tips can help journalists write more accurate content.
The Doe advise you Take advantage of fact-checking websites. Reputable news sources are already careful about checking up on the tips that arrive in their inboxes. However, smaller publications and freelancers that don’t have access to a full fact-checking department can get assistance from fact-checkers online. In the UK, fullfact.org makes fact-checking an easier process. In the US, factcheck.org is a great option.
Be wary of sites with unusual URLs. For example, if a site has a domain that sends in something like “.com.co,” it could be a fake version of a legitimate news site.
Always take the time to check the “About Us” section on the website. If you can’t find one, you should be concerned suggest The Doe.
You should also be concerned if a story is only being reported in one place like an anonymous blog. You can expect major stories to have multiple sources. If only one site is covering a story, you should proceed with caution according to The Doe.
You should watch out if the story isn’t sourced or if there is no author credited. Sometimes, there’s a legitimate reason for this, but you should still see it as a red flag.
Look at the date of the story. Many fake news sites try to repackage dated stories and make them appear to be new. Although these stories were true when they were first reported on, presenting these stories as new without context is an easy way to spread misinformation.
Lastly, you need to take satire into consideration. False stories aren’t always trying to spread misinformation. Stories that are blatantly untrue can be a source of entertainment. In some cases, the sources these kinds of stories come from may be legitimate. As an example, Private Eye is the top satirical news publication in Britain. Although they create parody content, they’ve also published excellent fact-based journalism. Unfortunately, when people began to panic about the spread of fake news after the 2016 election, the site showed up on lists of “fake news” websites.
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