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5 Tips for Spotting Fake News

How not to embarrass yourself or enable internet trolls.
5 Tips for Spotting Fake News
Image: Bloomua / Shutterstock

Another day, another controversy from presidential candidate Donald Trump.

And University of North Texas sociology professor George Yancey had had enough.

Yancey logged on his computer and saw this headline: “Donald Trump: ‘If Black Lives Don’t Matter Here Go Back to Africa.’” Given Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants, Yancey assumed the story was true.

Fed up, he wrote an angry response on Facebook. Then he realized that the story was fake.

“You probably know about confirmation bias,” he told CT. “I was a victim of that. I saw what I expected to see.”

Yancey isn’t alone in being fooled by fake news.

This week, the stock market was hoodwinked by a story, posted at Bloomberg.market, that Twitter was about to be sold. The story looked like every other story posted by Bloomberg News, and Twitter’s price began to soar.

But the story was fake, filled with misspellings and other errors, and before long Twitter’s price began to settle down.

Among other recent fake stories was this shocker, allegedly from NBC News: “Christian Pastor in Vermont Sentenced to One Year in Prison After Refusing to Marry Gay Couple.”

Only the story wasn’t from NBC. It was from NBC.com.co—a fake website, filled with ads, and hosted on an overseas website.

“We are all too gullible,” warned my friend Ed Stetzer this week.

Hoax stories like these are likely to become more common as hoaxers become more sophisticated, warned Dan Gillmor, a journalism professor at Arizona State who specializes in digital media.

“That means we all have to pay more attention, all the time, and take nothing immediately at face value,” Gillmor wrote.

Here are five ...

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5 Tips for Spotting Fake News
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