- We live in an era where the flow of information and misinformation has become almost overwhelming. That is why we need to give people the tools to identify fake news. These tools will enable us to stop the spreading of inaccurate news stories and half truths and improve trust online.
- In the past, fake news simply took the form of gossip, viral emails or even chain letters. Now with the explosion of social media and the ad revenue that can be gained just by people earning "clicks," the trustworthiness of information has become questionable. Yet, we do have to remember not to lump everything into the term "fake news," because there is a lot of misinformation out there that has some truth to it- but is ultimately unresearched, twisted with bias or misleading in some way. This type of shoddy reporting is still a great disservice to everyone.
- Inaccurate information is detrimental to society and can cause an emotional response in people, change the way people vote, create fear, increase segregation between races, religions, age groups and political groups. It is up to us as individuals to take responsibility for what we add to society by taking a couple minutes out of our day to check the accuracy of the things we read before we Like, Share and Repost anything. Even a "Like" by us can give fake news life on social media.
- We see this sharing of misinformation everyday within the Real Estate world. We see people fall victim to fake leads of homes to be bought or sold, and for "sponsored ads" disguised as news, causing people to hire unsavory agents/companies, (Zillow).
How we can avoid falling for it:
- Consider the source - are you reading an article from, abcnews.com or abcnews.com.co ? There are sites trying to appear as legitimate news sites, but they aren't.
- Look for signs of low quality- such as words in all caps, headlines with glaring grammatical errors, bold claims with no sources, and sensationalist images.
- Investigate the website you are on. Are there questionable ads, and is there other reputable news present?
- Consider whether other credible, mainstream news outlets are reporting the same news. If they're not, it doesn't mean it's not true, but it does mean you should dig deeper.
- Consult expert sources such as Snopes, Politifact and NPR's FactCheck, or Wikipedia.
- Check the details - the date, author of the article, about us section of the site, and the sources cited in the article.
- Check your emotions. Clickbait and fake news strive for extreme reactions.
Most importantly we need to learn these methods, live by them, teach our kids to do the same, and to be tech savvy!