Fake News

Caroline Soltis, Staff

Fake news has caught the attention of voters all across the nation after it’s been suggested to have had an impact on the results of the recent presidential election.

These are stories advertised on social media sites like Facebook that are designed to look as if they’re true- when they’re not. Sometimes the whole article is completely made-up, while other times only several facts are added or changed.

Though this in itself is already not good, it’s been argued that the fake news affected the results of the election. Because of those stories, many voters believed things about the candidates and the election that were not true. However, chief officers of Facebook have put down those claims and say it’s doubtful the stories affected the outcome. But that doesn’t mean the fake news didn’t have any impact. Since Facebook is the one responsible for misleading most people, you can see why they’d try to deny it. They have recently begun censoring the most extreme examples of fake news by not allowing them on their site.

But whether fake news stories did affect the election or not, it’s still important to know how to spot fake news, or how to realize that what you’re reading is completely or partially made up. Both teens and adults alike are at risk of believing fake news, and it doesn’t always matter  how smart they are – everyone can fall for it.

So how can you spot the made-up news? Well for one, Facebook has started to flag questionable stories, and there are Google Chrome plug-ins that work for the web. But you yourself can also check by looking at the domain name (look for strange URLs with things like “.com.co”), researching information and quotes on Google to see if they are on other sites, and reading multiple sources. Stories on very famous celebrities and politicians should be checked more thoroughly. You can also just try not to share or repost anything you believe to be false, to stop others from thinking the story is true. Another giveaway would be if when you get to the article, the headline has nothing to do with the article. While being very annoying, that can also usually give you a clue that the article may not be true. Also, remember that some well-known sites like the Union publish only made-up stories- not necessarily to trick people but to make them laugh.

. Even though the election is over, there are still tons of made-up articles out there. But there are also many very real ones, even if they may sound bizarre. So just use your knowledge and if something doesn’t seem quite right, you may just have stumbled upon a fake story.