As the name implies, false news is a narrative that is published and promoted as true, even though it isn’t. False news has always been an issue, but the advent of social media has made it easier for anyone to publish anything they want and call it true in order to further their agenda. Regardless of the intent or motivations behind it, false news can cause real-world harm because it can be used to push agendas and alter people’s beliefs and behaviours. That’s why we’ve outlined 6 different ways to spot false news and the right actions to take when you do.

1) Shine your eye well when looking at the headline.

Does a headline sound weirdly sensational, too good to be true, written in all caps, or contain an insane number of exclamation points? This is an issue common with articles containing false news. Another thing you should do is read the full article and not just the headline. Many publications engage in clickbait (twisting the wordings of headlines and misrepresenting the story to shock readers and get them talking). So you too, try to dey gather full gist.

2) Pay close attention to the link.

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Most websites that spew false news use URLs similar to those of established news websites. They do this by mimicking their links and making small changes – like adding a few characters. Don’t let these people run you street. If an article’s link looks sketchy, compare it to a real link from the established news website they’re imitating.

3) Investigate the source.

If the news has been published by a source you don’t recognise or trust, check the “About” section of the website to learn about them. Then look them up on a search engine to see what their internet history is like. If they have a history of lying, it’s best not to do amebo with the news.

4) Find out if other news outlets are reporting the same gist.

In this case, there’s nothing like “there’s no smoke without fire.” If you check and no one else is reporting that sweet and scandalous news you just saw, it means it is most likely not real. It’s not everything online that’s true oooh! Some are exaggerated and some are lies. If you’re not sure of the authenticity of the news source. DO NOT share the post.

5) Painstakingly go over the pictures/videos.

People who publish false news usually present edited pictures and videos to back up their lies. Sometimes, the pictures/videos may be real but used out of context to confuse everybody. To avoid being deceived, you can reverse search images on search engines to find their original source. If you don’t know how to reverse search images, better go and learn. Wise up oh.

6) Inspect the dates.

Some false stories aren’t completely false, but rather distortions of real events. These claims can take a legitimate news story and twist what it says — or even claim that something that happened long ago is related to current events.  If the dates/timelines in an article look like something from the past, it may be false news.

Brethren, please do your part to minimise the spread of false news online. Even though some people share false news without realizing it, the six tips mentioned above will help you learn how to identify it. Don’t be misinformed. It is time to join the fight against misinformation and false news online. Thankfully, there is something you can do about it, especially on social media. Facebook is providing tips for its users to minimise the spread of false news. Today, we will share the easy steps to take when you identify false news online.

  • Go to the top of the article and click the three dots.
  • Click on the option that says ‘report post.’
  • Click ‘False information’ and click ‘Next’.
  • Click ‘Done’

If you spend time online or use social media to stay informed, it’s important to do these things and ensure our favourite platforms remain a safe and secure place, free of false news. Join Zikoko and Facebook as we work together to create a #NoFalsenewszone.


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