Fake News! Read All About It?

December 4, 2016

Picture this: you’re walking by the school bulletin board and pause to read all of the things pinned to it, especially the article about space! Now that you’ve gobbled up the article (yes, we’re still gobbling stuff up from Thanksgiving!), we turn and ask you: Do you know if that article is real? In other words, how do you know what you’re reading is coming from a good source? You turn to us in shock and think: Shouldn’t teachers and principals make sure that the articles are real before they’re allowed to be pinned to the bulletin board? Or, wait — should I verify every article on my own?

These are the questions facing companies like Facebook and Google. Although fake news isn’t new (false reports of Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs, were shared widely in the 1970s), it has, however, become an especially important topic of discussion this year because of how viral (quickly spread) they can be, and how fake news might have influenced this year’s U.S. elections. As a result, experts are calling for these companies to remove fake news from their sites. While Facebook earlier claimed that most news on their site is authentic, the company has since shared efforts of how it’s working to remove fake news.

What can you do as reader to make sure that you’re reading a real article? Think critically! Look to see what kind of research the writer did, and check the credibility of their resources. Bottom line, don’t believe everything you read — unless you can verify where it’s coming from.