As a Las Vegas public relations professional, it's hard enough to cut through the noise to get your clients message heard and now the increase of fake news adds even more clutter. There's a lot of buzz about fake news right now, especially following our recent election. So, the question is, what is fake news and how do we avoid getting duped by it?
First, fake news comes from a website that deliberately publishes hoaxes, propaganda and disinformation masquerading as real news. To make it worse, they often use social media to drive web traffic and increase their objective.
This isn't just an issue for public relations professionals, in fact, a recent Associated Press story gave some tips teachers are sharing with their students to avoid being deceived. This advice is valuable and we wanted to share it as well. Here are a few tips to avoid getting tricked by fake news.
- Does the URL look odd? That "com.co" ending on an otherwise authentic-looking website is a red flag. When in doubt, click on the "contact" and "about" links to see where they lead. A major news organization probably isn't headquartered in a house.
- Does it make you mad? False reports often target emotions with claims of outlandish spending or unpatriotic words or deeds. If common sense tells you it can't be true, it may not be.
- If it's real, other news sites are likely reporting it as well.
- How is the writing? Caps lock and multiple exclamation points don't have a place in most real newsrooms.
- Who are the writers and the people in the story? Google the names for clues to see if they are legitimate, or not.
- What are fact-checking sites such as Snopes.com and FactCheck.org finding?
- It might be satire. Sometimes, what seems like a foolish story isn't really meant to fool.
- Think twice before sharing. Today, everyone is a publisher.
You can read the full story at AP News - Fake News: Tips On How To Distinguish From The Real Thing.
by Adrianne Offermann