Fake news, Facebook’s 10 tips against fake news

After recent criticism and promises of new measures the Facebook has created a decalogue to identify fake news

Fake news, also defined as hoaxes, are a real problem for the web. In particular, their spread on some social networks can create misinformation among users. Facebook is among the platforms most at risk regarding this widespread phenomenon.

The social network has taken several measures to counter the circulation of hoaxes and the platform has been the target of several criticisms also from some nations, such as Germany, and some politicians, such as Boldrini. Despite the recent measures on Facebook continue to be born and thrive pages that gain from the creation of fake news, which often foment hatred and racism. For this reason, the social media has now created a decalogue of ten rules to follow in order to identify false news on the platform and not to give it credit.

Caution to titles

Often these fake news pages focus on high-sounding titles and impact, defined as bait titles. That is, able to attract as many clicks as possible. We are therefore wary of news that have a title all in capital letters, or that use a particular punctuation characterized by many exclamation points. Beware of claims made in the title, if they seem absurd or exaggerated they are probably not true, or at least not entirely.

Look at the URL

The second fundamental step is to carefully check the URL of the site from which the news comes from. Often these portals that create ad hoc hoaxes mispronounce the names of national or local newspapers, and just a little verification and a little attention is enough to unmask them. If you do not know the site that is reporting the news, check the information on the page to see what kind of site it is and search the Web to see if it is a reliable source.

Attention to formatting

On many hoax sites the pages are formatted in an unusual way, this is to contain a lot of advertising or to bring the user's attention to certain parts of the article. Also watch out for grammatical errors. If the article has several errors, and not just typos, it is very likely that it is a site that generates hoaxes.

Videos and photos

Sites that create fake news usually use videos and photos with great impact. Media content that is also often retouched to accentuate the drama and meaning of the article. Sometimes it can happen that the photos are authentic but totally placed out of context. To understand the reliability of the same is enough to do a quick search on Google and understand what is the source of origin.

Attention to dates

Frequently, especially in the case of tragic events such as earthquakes or major disasters, sites that create hoaxes exploit the emotionality of people reporting old news, sometimes even true, and readjust them to the current context. We are always careful therefore to the dates and we verify the news before considering it as true.

Check the testimonies

Another aspect not to underestimate is the testimonies present in the article. Often these sites include untrue sources and totally made-up comments in the fake news. Pay attention also to a very specific article on a certain subject that does not report any testimonial or any external intervention: it could be a clear signal that we are in front of a hoax.

Is it a widespread news?

Nowadays for information sites the exclusives can be counted on the fingers of one hand, let alone if the subject in question belongs to the news or politics. Before believing the content of an article we check that other sites have reported the same news. Obviously it is advisable to check with official national or local newspapers, universally recognized as reliable.

Occhi agli scherzo

Hands up who does not know Lercio. It is a page that creates satirical news, and not true, based on recent events. There are several sites of this kind. Before making a fool of yourself by believing, and maybe seriously commenting, on these news, always check the source to understand if it is a joke or not.

Beware of sharing

The final advice is therefore to always be critical when we read a news on the Net. The same obviously applies when reading something written, but online the dangers are greater. We then avoid sharing fake news. In this way we will benefit only the ill-intentioned that have created them.