Fake vs. Real News

Why does fake news even exist? It is big money for those that fabricate it. Ad companies sell ads on these sites because of the eyeballs that go to fake news. The more clicks a site receives, the more money in advertising they can receive. Fake news sites can make tens of thousands in revenue through ads on the platform.

So how do I tell the difference? Here are a few tips and tricks:

1. Look at the domain and URL - Does the site end in a standard “.com” or does it end in something else? Look out for “.com.co” for example.

2. Read the “About Us” section - Look for clear, straightforward language and information. Nothing overly dramatic.

3. Look for quotes - Fake news is often devoid of quotes. Real news and journalists will include many quotes to give its content validation.

4. Who said what? - Dig into the people that are saying the quotes. Are they a reputable source?

5. Watch out for clickbait - Does it pass the sniff test? These are the ridiculous headlines that are used to get you to click on the article. These are exaggerated to help drive you to their website. If it is too insane to be true, it normally is.

6. Be aware of politically charged information - Lookout for your personal bias. If you immediately get fired up about an article, it was probably written just for you to further polarize you.

7. Facts are not often as sexy as lies - Therefore, they are less likely to go viral. Because something has a large number of shares does NOT make it true. Check the sources, quotes, images.

8. Avoid social media outlets for your news - This is not where you want to go to gain perspective on the world. This has been made all the more clear over the last couple of years as major sites (i.e. Facebook) have been slammed for the proliferation of fake news on their platforms.

Big Idea:

Not everything you read is true, don’t trust the first thing you see.


Davis, Wynne, “Fake or Real? How to Self-Check the News and Get the Facts,” NPR, December 5, 2016, accessed October 10, 2018, https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/12/05/503581220/fake-or-real-how-to-self-check-the-news-and-get-the-facts. https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/12/05/503581220/fake-or-real-how-to-self-check-the-news-and-get-the-facts