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Fake News

How to Identify and Avoid Fake News

Fake news isn't limited to tabloids anymore.  With the rise of social media, fake news is spreading faster and further than ever before--with real consequences.  In fact, the World Economic Forum ranks massive digital misinformation among the top future global risks, along with water supply crises, major systemic financial failures, and failure to adapt to climate change. This guide will help you learn to identify and avoid sharing fake news.

What's the Big Deal?

You may not be looking for fake news but you're probably still seeing it.  It's hard to avoid on social media.  Because fake news is often designed to elicit an emotional response, it goes viral quickly--often more quickly than real news.  People don't just believe fake news stories, they share them... which is what fake news creators are banking on. Whether the motives are political, humorous, or monetary, fake news writers want their lies to spread!  YOU can help stop them!


Chart showing the Total Facebook Engagements for Top 20 Election Stories.

Chart shows mainstream news decreases from 12 million engagements from February through April to 9 million engagements from May to July, and to 7.3 million engagements from August through Election Day. Fake news engagements rose from just below 3 million engagements in February through April to just above 3 million engagements from May to July and 8.7 million engagements from August through Election Day, exceeding the number of mainstream news engagements. (Engagement refers to the total number of shares, reactions, and comments for a piece of content on Facebook. Source: Facebook data via Buzzsumo.)

Fake News is a Real Problem: Facebook engagement of the top five fake election stories

Headline/Publisher Engagements (Engagement is measured as a total number of shares, reactions and comments)
"Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President"/Ending the Fed 960,000
“Wikileaks CONFIRMS Hillary Sold Weapons to ISIS…Then Drops Another Bombshell! Breaking News”/The Political Insider 789,000
“IT’S OVER: Hillary’s ISIS Email Just Leaked & It’s Worse Than Anyone Could Have Imagined”/Ending the Fed 754,000
“Just Read the Law: Hillary is Disqualified from Holding Any Office”/Ending the Fed 701,000
“FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead in Apartment Murder-Suicide”/Denver Guardian 567,000

Source: Buzzsumo via Buzzfeed in StatistaCharts