Real or Fake News?

For me, I use a combination of my own judgement and Facebook’s own verification services, in order to decipher whether the page feeding me information is trustworthy or not. This isn’t an uncommon thought process for to go through, as, almost daily, I find my Facebook newsfeed cluttered with “Breaking News” that seems ridiculous. I’ve trained myself to second guess everything I read before I really believe it.

Once I see a headline like that, before I actually internalize it, I go and look at the account name, link, or organization and make sure I’ve heard of it or that it’s reputable. In this case, the story is ridiculous, the organization is known for false news, and the grammar isn’t even correct, “dyes” should clearly be “dies”. Clear indications that this is fake. 9 times out of 10, ridiculous headlines are complete nonsense, and this is one of those times. The one thing that usually alleviates my concerns, is that tiny blue verification checkmark. Though Facebook has been less than trustworthy recently, knowing that they have double checked an account and deemed it legitimate is enough for me to trust it. Here are their guidelines to what gets verified:

When I see a post like this, there is nothing to make me think that it is untrue.

The content seems legitimate, the organization is reputable, and Twitter has told me that they have verified that the page is trustworthy. As a result, I have no reason to think that this information is false.

It’s crazy to think that years ago, the deceit on the internet was primarily located on sketchy websites, but today on websites as mainstream as Facebook, there is everything from ridiculous news stories to news stories with strong and hidden political agendas.

5 thoughts on “Real or Fake News?

  1. I’m right with you with regard to using a combination of Facebook’s verification services and our own judgement in deciding whether or not the page and information is trustworthy. In a digital age full of information overloads, we put a lot of pressure on Facebook to keep up and verify every little thing. When, it’s really just as equally up to us to be actively verifying checking the facts. While I do agree that seeing a page’s verification helps to ease my uncertainty, I do think that too often than not, even verified pages are pushing out sponsored content and news that is not authentically true. Your motto of second guessing everything you read before you believe it is a good one that I live by too!

  2. I think you bring up an interesting example on how we see “fake news” posts not only about important political issues, but in everyday aspects like sports. People are willing to create a wild story just to get clicks on their article, and it is scary that people may actually believe the information. Verification check marks are definitely crucial when identifying credible sources, but we have a long way to go.

  3. I use all the same techniques! The other problem that I run into is when one of my Facebook friends posts an article that seems ridiculous. Normally I can tell that it’s fake based on the article title, but it can be a little trickier since I can’t use the verified feature to tell me. If I can’t tell based on the headline and the article itself, I normally google the source to see if it has a record of posting fake news and/or click bait. It’s a pretty simple step, but it’s too time consuming for many Facebook users, which explains why we see so many reposts of false content.

  4. I agree with your point that Facebook feels less trustworthy recently, yet we have almost no choice except to trust their new verification features. It’s a necessary evil to get at least some of our news from Facebook, so it helps to check for verification and try to deconstruct a headline or story before you decide to believe it.

  5. Hi Jeffrey,

    While you make the point that Facebook feels less trustworthy recently, I do agree with that, but I also believe that they have been untrustworthy since the beginning, but now they are just starting to get caught. Usually I can tell if Facebook content is fake based on the headline, but fake headlines can be believable sometimes, so I am going to start using your advice and start doing more research on account names, links, and organizations to make sure that I am not receiving false information. This was a great read.

    Josh Goldberg

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