Fake News

It’s 2017 and “Assessing the reliability of online information” is still relevant.

In 2012, Stephen Judd wrote a blog Is that so? – Assessing the reliability of online information”. This blog is an update to his post with a focus on fake news and social networks, especially since Facebook and Google are beginning to take steps to combat it.

Facebook and Google see themselves as technology companies, but critics see them as media conglomerates with the power to deliver fake and real news to most news consumers. The Pew Research Center states that 62 percent of U.S. adults get news on social media. Facebook and Google are taking the first steps in combating fake news by prohibiting advertising on sites found to “contain content that is illegal, misleading or deceptive, which includes fake news.” This reduces the fake news sites revenue, but perhaps the best way to fight fake news is to become more knowledgeable about detecting fake news.

Judd’s post list the C.R.A.A.P, (currency, relevance, authority, accuracy and purpose) test as a way to determine the accuracy of an information source. ABC News reports that 5 questions all journalism students learn can be applied to spotting fake news.

  • Who is telling the news?
  • What is the evidence?
  • Where did the information come from?
  • When was the information reported?
  • Why is the information being reported?

Additionally, we can become more media literate by following the advice of Melissa Zimdars and Alexios Mantzarlis. NPR summarized their best practices as:

  • Pay attention to the domain and URL
  • Read the “About Us” section
  • Look at the quotes in a story
  • Look at who said them
  • Check the comments
  • Reverse image search

There are a number of sites that regularly vet news stories and rumors, including, Snopes.com and Factcheck.org. Technology will not be able to detect all fake news, so it is imperative that we become more knowledgeable about detecting fake news ourselves. Sharing and perpetuating fake news stories can damage our personal and organizational reputations. Stopping the spread of fake news is not something that will happen overnight, but we must continue to be vigilant to not be duped by fake news.

Author: Terrence Wolfork (+Terrence Wolfork,@trwolfork )

This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on January 23, 2017.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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