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Check for lies: 7 tips to avoid fake news
Check for lies: 7 tips to avoid fake news

The Internet and modern digital technologies have made quick access to information possible. But at the same time, the Web is filled with fake news, which sometimes look very believable. We will tell you how not to be confused.

Check for lies: 7 tips to avoid fake news
Check for lies: 7 tips to avoid fake news

1. Read the news in its entirety, not just its headline

A few years ago, The Science Post reported that 70% of Facebook users only read the headlines of scientific articles before sharing such materials and leaving comments. This finding was not supported by research, and the article itself consisted of Lorem ipsum placeholder text commonly used in page layouts. Nevertheless, readers willingly shared comic news: at the time when the unusual publication was noticed by The Washington Post, it was shared 46 thousand times, and now the number of reposts is approaching 200 thousand. However, soon the authors' guesses were confirmed. For example, scientists from Columbia University and the French National Institute found Social Clicks: What and Who Gets Read on Twitter? / HAL-Inria that 59% of the links people shared on Twitter never actually opened.

Article authors can take advantage of this human trait and come up with provocative headlines to increase the number of clicks and reposts. As a rule, in such news they promise to tell about a sensation, a catastrophe, a scandal involving celebrities. But upon careful reading, it may turn out that the heading distorts the meaning of the information or even contradicts it.

2. Research the source of the news

It is important to check who published this data. If you see news on your personal blog or on a newly created website, you should not unconditionally trust such information. Check the information about the portal - registration, editorial staff, URL. Fake sources can copy the website design and logo of a major media outlet, but at the same time change only one letter in the address.

On social media, you are also not immune to counterfeiting. For example, a fake Telegram channel is capable of impersonating an official account of an authoritative publication. Such a source can not only spread false news, but also engage in fraudulent activities - for example, announce a fundraiser. As a rule, the media post links to their social media accounts on their websites: check if they match the data of the source where you found the news. On Instagram, there may be a blue verification icon next to the page name - this means that the account is genuine.

3. Check the source

How to recognize fake news: check the source
How to recognize fake news: check the source

Go to the source of the news and see who reported it: an official body (for example, a city administration), an authoritative expert, or an anonymous witness. If there are no references in the article, and the author uses expressions such as "scientists say" or "everyone knows that", but does not refer to specific specialists or studies, then he either deliberately distorts the facts, or passes off his fantasies as reality.

Be attentive to the date - sometimes the media publish comic articles on April 1st. In addition, there are websites on the Internet that specialize in absurd news. Usually they don't try to pass off publications at face value, but in a huge stream of news, the reader may not distinguish between truth and fiction. Sometimes, even serious media outlets can, due to inattention, reprint a joke, mistaking it for truth.

4. Pay attention to the language of publication

Fake news primarily addresses your emotions. The more emotional response the information evokes in a person, the higher the likelihood that he will not analyze it. In a competent journalistic material, a balance of opinions must be observed. If the point of view of one side is presented in the text, and the author clearly sympathizes with it, then it is better to look for another source.

The facts in the news should be presented as neutral as possible, without emotional appeals and evaluative statements of the author. If you feel that what you read causes hatred, panic or fear, it is possible that they are trying to manipulate you.

5. Don't trust photos and videos

How to spot fake news: don't trust photos and videos
How to spot fake news: don't trust photos and videos

They can be faked too. If someone has posted a photo before, you can check it through an image search in Google or Yandex. It is possible that the events in the photograph did not take place where stated in the article, but in a completely different place and at a different time.

Take a closer look at the image: what is happening with the perspective and shadows of objects, is there a difference in brightness and contrast in different areas. You can enlarge the photo in a graphics editor. Often times, Photoshop will combine two images of different sizes - then, when zoomed in, one image will be grainier than the other.

It's more difficult with video: deepfakes that appear thanks to artificial intelligence are extremely difficult to distinguish from the original. If you see a famous person saying something sensational and provocative, you should be wary. This video may turn out to be fake or clever editing that distorts the meaning of the statement. Some videos can be found by keywords on YouTube - there is a chance that it will be possible to find the original recording and find out what the hero of the video actually said.

6. Look for information in other sources

Often, the authors of fakes, trying to make the material more believable, refer to major media outlets, including foreign ones. Try to search the original publication and find out (if necessary - with the help of an online translator) if the information is not distorted. If an expert is mentioned in the article, you can also Google it: it is possible that the author simply invented this person.

If you are interested in the news, look for sources that will cover this event from different angles. This way you have a better chance of seeing the objective picture.

7. Be attentive on social media

Fake pages can serve as news sources. To calculate the fake, pay attention to when the account was created, whether the user has uploaded photos and videos, whether he has friends and subscribers. Lack of information about yourself, a photo of kittens on the avatar and an empty list of friends - all this may indicate that the account is fake. You shouldn't trust such a source.

But even if you read the news from a famous blogger, you need to double-check it. After all, the author may not have expert knowledge on some issue and mislead subscribers. Sometimes by accident and sometimes on purpose.

News with big headlines and shocking rumors can travel very quickly - even if they have nothing to do with reality. To stop the spread of inaccurate data, Russian IT companies and the media have a memorandum on combating fakes.

Among the parties to the agreement are RBC, Yandex,, Rambler & Co, Rutube, Vedomosti, Izvestia, The Bell, URA. RU. Companies and publications that have joined the memorandum plan to exchange experience in combating fake news and develop uniform rules for searching, checking and marking inaccurate information.