Social Media has become an essential part of people’s daily lives. Through it, people gained access to any piece of information from the click of a button. This information changes shapes to fit the platform it is seen on: it can either be an article, a picture, a video or even a voice note. However, not all information you read and see are verified and true. Some misleading information, known as fake news, can become viral and create panic if it has not been verified first. To help you create a safe and trustworthy re-sharing of news, here are 3 ways to spot fake news on Instagram, being the 5th most downloaded app worldwide with over 1 billion users.
Study the Source on Instagram
As the popularity of news on Instagram is growing fast, creating a false media account can be a piece of cake. Which is why, it is important than ever to be critical online. There are ways that young people can tell the different between fake and real news. So, to help you better understand what is going on, the first tip would be to check the source. Look at the account’s biography. If there is a posted link to a website then go check it out. The website can help you find out about the source’s background and history.
It is also advisable to search for other sources. According to an article by The Huffington Post, googling the name and checking out other articles it posts should help determine whether it is trustworthy or not.
Learn About the Writer on Instagram
The second tip is divided into two parts: the text and the author.
Whenever you come across a news that seems interesting to you. Start investigating! The article can actually help you spot the fakeness. Start with the date and time. Old articles or events can resurface and mislead people. So, it is recommended to check the publish time stamp to prevent yourself from being deceived. Then move on to the title. The Startup states “Titles in capital letters; double exclamation marks, typos and poor grammar show that this is not only fake news but also a very bad one.” Finally, look at the text itself and ask yourself:
Moving to the outline of the article, ask yourself these questions:
- Is the story well-presented?
- Is there any use of clear images?
- Is there a credible source under the images?
If the text contains spelling mistakes or what looks like exaggerated information then it is probably fake news. Also, a lack of links or sources in an article is an obvious sign of false information. If the article contains references and links to other articles, click on those and check them out too.
Another way of spotting fake news is to look at the person who wrote it: the author. Sometimes, writers can guest blog. They might write a piece for a particular online magazine or website. The Huffington Post mentions that “Looking at the person who wrote the article can reveal a lot of information” about the news source. The guest blogger’s history can reveal if the work is authentic or not. If it is a serious matter, the writer will mostly need the help of experts. A lack of quotes might indicate illegitimacy. Remember, the credibility of an author is very important in determining the quality of the source.
When in Doubt on IG … Stay Away!
Tracing the path of information outline is not like solving a puzzle. It may not be a fun activity for everyone. With all our busy schedules, time may not be on our side with this one. Which is why, the third and last tip would be to stay away from the news itself if you are feeling skeptical. It is so easy to bring fear and anxiety to yourself. So, if whatever is happening is actually true you will probably hear it from multiple media accounts and sources. But for now, keep on scrolling.
We live in a world with a constant overload of information. Anyone can say anything at any time. People are just never going to stop talking. With these three tips and many more you can now easily find out what to believe.