Whether it’s called “fake news” or “alternative facts,” all of us who share content on social media need to be wary of false information pretending to be facts. Even the most knowledgeable social media mavens have fallen prey to Internet hoaxes.
Knowing what is fake and what is real news are essential to protecting your brand on social media. But how can you separate fact from fiction? Here are some tips:
- Know your source: Be certain the news is coming from a legitimate news source and that it’s up to date. Check the date because, all too often, old news gets recycled as new news. To be sure a site is legitimate, check the website’s domain name, URL address and “About Section.” You can also check Wikipedia’s list of fake news sites, and the Chrome browser has a plug-in to help alert you to fake news. Also, on Twitter, you can confirm whether the Tweeters are who they say they are by looking for the blue check mark that says Twitter has verified the user’s identity.
- Know your source’s sources: Making sure the sources who are cited and quoted are credible will help determine the facts claimed. Checking the organizations they represent and/or their credentials can be helpful. Also, keep in mind that content that relies on a single source story is not likely to be as credible as content that cites multiple sources. You can check facts by searching for the same report on other news sources and sites. Snopes.com, FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.com can also help to verify the facts. To check the sources for photos, please see Google’s reverse image search or TinEye.
- Beware clickbait: From reports that former President Obama gave Arizona to Mexico to premature reports of celebrity deaths, rumors have run rampant on social media. So just remember that if a story seems too sensational to be true, it probably is.
What other tips would you offer for ensuring brands avoid sharing fake news?