You do not need to wear Sherlock’s deerstalker hat to filter out the falsehoods from the facts!
#1: IS IT LEGIT?
I have to admit, one can easily get lost in the vast Silicon Valley. A humble image search may lead to random personality quizzes. More so, it may lead to a seemingly familiar website that spreads factitious news. Do not rely on the credibility of the sharer (i.e., refers to your friend who shared the “news” on social media) alone! Assessing whether the website is legitimate or not is the first step to spotting a fake headline.
Notice its face value. If the article reeks of typographical and grammatical errors then, approach with caution. If the author’s prior works does not seem fact-based then, approach with caution. The article’s graphics may look impressive, but it does not necessarily add to the website’s credibility. Consider clicking the website’s “About Us” tab or browse through the readers’ comments below the article.
#2: THE HEART OF SOCIAL MEDIA
The rise of websites like Twitter and Facebook created a digital landscape for an unprecedented number of online articles. Its potency was highlighted as fake news became a modern epidemic. Facebook defines fake news as articles that “set out to deceive, contain objectively provable falsehoods, and pretend to be from a legitimate news site”. A single nation cannot control its overwhelming global prevelance.
For starters, getting your news primarily from social media platforms entails reading articles that usually skip fact-checks. Social media websites allow individuals and businesses to campaign paid advertisements and make them seem like genuine stories. Some websites are even decorated with “fake news” bots. It is dangerous when you are regularly fed with fake financial news to suit your online behaviors. Steer away from these stories and focus on accurate financial websites or news outlets such as MoneySENSE.
#3: CAN YOU DEFINE IT?
Let us get our vocabulary straight – first things first. Contrary to popular belief, fake news are not restricted to impolite or inconvenient themes. Nor is it limited to the scrutiny of a financial professional or a financial theory. Fake news have in-depth layers. As I previously mentioned, Facebook defines fake news as deceiving articles that contain false information. Many are published to target the ignorant masses to generate “virality”.
You see, this type of news rely on your impulsive decision to click. Just because something has optimized shareability does not mean that it is credible. There are some viral money articles that are worth missing out!
#4: THE LACK OF DATA
Viral articles usually elicit strong emotions from its readers. Whether they are sobbing or empowered, people are fond of sharing stories that leave a lasting impact. Despite carrying an inspiring rags-to-riches investor story, do not instantly treat an article as your stock guide. Just because a charismatic person says that a certain stock is booming does not mean that it is!
Fake news lack tangible data. Artistic infographics or tables may distract you from the truth that the article is utterly baseless and purely objective. So, remember that savvy investors examine the data rather than the opinion. Opinions may be harmful when the person you are interacting with is promoting a stock for his or her ulterior motive. Safeguard your financial well-being by checking for the facts.
#5: DID YOU FACT-CHECK?
Group SMS used to be all the rage back in the day! It refers to establishing a collection of contacts that you will constantly communicate with. When I was in secondary school there was an individual who hid in the persona of “gossip girl”. He or she used to send messages containing unpleasant events that attack a particular set of students. It was saddened to see how rumors spread like wildfire! Lies often spread farther and faster than the truth – according to a report.
Applying the same ideal to fake news highlights how facts go viral less often than falsehoods. This is why readers must adapt the habit of fact-checking. Start by digging through the attached links then, check the article’s primary resources. Dial up your skepticism when links and references do not add up.