Blog Post

Fake News – Advice From the Future Podcast Response

A big problem today is the prevalence of fake news. You see it all the time, a shared post from your relative on Facebook, an inflammatory tweet, to the feed on your home page. I hate to credit Trump for anything, but I have to admit he popularized the term “fake news” by claiming everything said about him was such. However, is fake news everywhere and how cautious do we have to be when choosing to believe information?

According to Jane Lytvnenko from the Advice From the Future podcast, a top misconception regarding fake news is that it lives on one specific platform and all other platforms are safe. I know that when I think of fake news my mind is immediately drawn to viral Facebook posts, but it’s important to remember that your friend’s tweet can be just as incorrect and damaging. You can’t always rely on the articles in your feed. How can you distinguish between trustworthy news source and click magnets? Thankfully the Advice From the Future podcast gives us some things to look out for.

There are a couple of characteristics that most fake news articles share. When you read the tagline of an article check on how it makes you feel. Fake news plays on your anxiety, your fears, and your emotions. Possibly the emotion anger, since that’s always a good one to play on. Especially in our political climate where politicians make up things about each other to make their constituents not want to vote for them. The images that these articles use are usually visually compelling because they want you to click on it and they want you to feel something about it whether positive or negative. They just want you to click on the post. The podcast also reminds us not to trust any article with memes. A trustworthy news site will never use memes. In addition to just the first moment, you lay eyes on a source be sure to go through the website, and look through its home page. If it’s a news site it will cover a variety of topics some of which are relevant and others that are boring. A website that only covers bombastic, interesting topics with inflammatory titles are not trustworthy.

In addition to this, the podcast previously mentioned used the video of tanks in San Diego post as an example of how to find out if something is real or a hoax. One such way is to check if someone else has posted something similar. Usually, hoaxes start with just one person, however, they can be perpetrated by many people like in a 4Chan raid. One infamous raid was the Bald for Beiber raid in which members of the message board spread that Justin Beiber had gotten cancer in an attempt to get some of his young fans to shave their heads. It worked even though a simple news search could have proven it wasn’t true or by looking at Justin Beiber’s social media. This tactic doesn’t always work though, so let’s move onto the next one. Another tactic is to try and find an official announcement that this is taking place and if you’re unable to find one this will diminish the believability of the article. Another was looking to see when the photo or video was taken and check the weather in the area for when it happened to see if it matched up, but that’s a little over the top. An easier way is to look at a local news station or search what the article is about and you’re sure to find more information. Then check which websites these articles are on to see if they are credible news sources.

Although, fake news articles and sites are prevalent it is possible to identify them almost on sight with just a little practice. It is necessary to do so in order to be a properly informed citizen and to be able to make good decisions.