The concept of 'fake news' has received a lot of publicity in recent times, particularly in light of the recent American elections. Just as there may be fake news on social media, there are also of course fake websites. Read this recent article from The Wall Street Journal about a recent study undertaken by Stanford University. The study was conducted using almost 8000 middle school through to undergraduate students and around 82% of these student could not distinguish between fake news and reliable news on websites.
Teens absorb social media news without considering the source; parents can teach research skills and skepticism. Students are savvy about technology, but often lack the ability to tell the difference between fake and real news or opinion and fact.
This is why it is important to spend time evaluating websites:
A tough website to catch as a fake, the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus site is beautifully designed, all links work, and the author’s information is available with a link to his regularly updated blog. There is even an online store where readers can purchase mugs, shirts, and stickers, all displaying images of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus!
The giveaway? A quick search of the affiliated school, “Kelvnic University,” and the “Wild Haggis Conservation Society,” brings up quite a few websites that state them as fake. In addition, the author states that sasquatch is a natural predator to the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.
We all know that anyone can publish to the internet right? Where better to design and promote a fake news story than through social media, especially if news sites get hold of it and you can potentially reap the rewards of advertising. Read this interesting article from Scientific American about how fake news and news sites are being promoted through social media.
Now, have a look at this Blog post about what to watch out for and how to be news savvy and catch out fake news!
And watch this video from the Behind the News! (ABC ME November 29, 2016)
If you want to read more about fake news, and identifying fake news in the media, check out our Fact Checking library guide: