Even though it may be easier to fabricate or dispense fake news relative to detecting fake news, there are still methods one can employ to check if a particular piece of media is fake news. Some of these methods are fully reading articles (as opposed to skimming headlines), searching for proof and evidence, evaluating the evidence along with the sources and specific claims, and researching the website, writer, or publisher of the news article. In terms of directly evaluating text, one should look for relevance to the article’s thesis, solid logic and structuring, hyperbole, and typographical carelessness. Lastly, when evaluating the ideas of the article holistically, one should enumerate the arguments (specifically, the ratio of supporting/pro arguments to attacking/con arguments) and ensure that the argument is indeed balanced, and one should question the motives of the writer as well as the purpose of the article.
- Evaluate the credibility of the piece by reading the full article and looking for evidence, not opinion.
- Sometimes fake news articles include arguments that are related to the topic, but not actually relevant to it.
- Sensationalistic language and dramatic punctuation are often signs that the author isn’t relying on objective logic.
“Indeed, perhaps one of the best tips for avoiding presentation of fake news is the advancement of one’s ability to identify it in the first place.”