Fake news has been a major phenomenon in the current and previous decades. It has mainly been linked to the social media giant Facebook, whereby during the 2016 US presidential election, scores of misinformation were shared and propagated. Fake news has since been termed highly dangerous, and different social media platforms have taken steps to combat it. But you also should know how to report fake news on Facebook.
In this article, we will look at the steps you can take as a Facebook user to report fake news. In addition, we will also tell you ways you can distinguish real news from fake.
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Types of Fake News
One thing that you should always remember about all news is that there can be an element of falsity to it. The past few years have taught us about online journalism. With the power of Photoshop and carefully chosen titles, fake news has pervaded our whole world. Therefore, you should always be a little wary of what you hear and see online, especially from unreliable sources.
Here are the types of fake news to beware of online:
False news stories are actually quite easy to identify. These have a pattern to them and usually come from sites that appear to be like regular news sites but are, in reality, fake. Such sites promote their abusive content around the time something controversial occurs, such as the elections.
Partisan news is a bit more sneaky. It covers real-world topics that have been taken from legitimate sites and adds a twist to them. Usually, this twist is a hidden political agenda, and the news is reported in a way that becomes biased. Such news can have a great impact on people, and it is covered in a way that favors one side of any story. You should always try to obtain your news from neutral sources.
With increased awareness, and YouTube playing its part in making people absolutely annoyed with its clickbait content, it’s easier to distinguish now. Clickbait news is often very sensational and states something that makes people curious to click on them. And once you do, it becomes apparent that you’ve been tricked. Such news is rampant on platforms like Facebook.
- Due to the fact that they contain some truth, these are normally the hardest to spot. You may read a news story and immediately believe that anything in it is accurate because you already know it to be true, but in actuality, you were duped. Users typically find these to be the most alluring because they can be targeted advertisements or promoted posts that correspond with what those users have already expressed an interest in. That was tricky. The best approach to spot these is to verify the sources and see if the headline matches the content of the story. There is a very high likelihood that the news is false if they don’t cite original sources.
Sites like The Onion exclusively publish content that comes under satire. While these pieces are clearly humorous and not to be taken seriously, some people still fall for them. Satirical news may be taken at face value and reshared by people who think it’s true.
Tips on How to Spot Fake News Posts on Facebook
Now that we’ve covered the types of fake news articles you could come across, let’s talk about how to spot them and steer clear of them. Below are some tips that should help with that:
- Have a critical mindset: One habit to develop to avoid becoming a victim of fake news is to be critical. The reason why fake news is a huge issue is that it’s believed by people. To counter this, you need to keep your emotions in check while reacting to the headlines you read online.
- Check the source: Truthful news always has a credible source. And if you find news that has a source unheard of before, it’s most likely fake. Also, extensions that sound fishy are exactly like that. Examples include “.infonet” or “.offer”.
- Don’t take pictures for their face value: It’s no mystery that services like Photoshop are widely misused by people. Pictures might be distorted by those spreading a fake news story to make their claims even more believable.
How to Prevent the Spreading of Fake News on Facebook
Thankfully, sites like Facebook have started campaigns against the spread of fake news. They’ve hired fact-checking groups that monitor and regulate the content shared through these platforms. But how can you, as a user, play your fight in reducing fake news? By reporting it!
Here are the steps to report false news on Facebook:
- At the top right of the post that seems to be fake, click on the three dots
- Select the “report post” option
- Choose the “it’s a false story” option
Leave the rest to the fact-checking metrics and third-party fact-checkers employed by Facebook. They’ll most likely get rid of the post if it makes untrue claims.
Each individual deserves access to quality information and news. While these social media sites are updating their fact-checking capabilities, the danger of fake news is still incredibly real and present. We should all try our best to report false information as we find it and not share it further so as not to bring it further attention.
Unless a more rigid step is taken against the spread of fake news, this danger will remain and will continue to impact the human psyche.
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