Our generation has grown up in an era of Photoshop and digital illustration, where nearly anyone has the power to manipulate the media, and even large news name seems to be unreliable. In many ways, the credibility gap is larger than ever. Factchecking has emerged as a useful skill in the time “fake news” and “alternative facts”. Don’t rely on your friends or your Facebook; use these steps to see for yourself what’s legitimate.
First: Check the URL, quick and easy. Often, there will be a very subtle change in the website’s name – it will mimic a professional one, but sometimes have an added letter or number that points to falsehood, like the difference between abc.com and abc.com.co.
Second: See if there’s a disclaimer on the actual website – some pages actually admit to misrepresentation, or even fiction and fabrication.
Third: Is the article by an actual author, or by a generalized category or website name? If the latter, is it a credible site, with journalism you can trust? Anonymity and a lack of contact information should be red flags.
Fourth: Follow your sources. It’s tedious and time-consuming, but also the most foolproof way to facts. Search exact quotes to find their origin, or search them and include the website credited for the quote on google.
Fifth: Check the images. Hoaxers often use real photos to increase believability. Dragging the image into a google search bar can quickly tell you that it came from somewhere else.
Marirose Bernal Staff Reporter