8 Tips For Avoiding Fake News During Election Season
Start writing a post
Friendships

8 Tips For Avoiding Fake News During Election Season

Misinformation poses a great threat to America, so be prepared.

52
8 Tips For Avoiding Fake News During Election Season

The 2018 election is coming up in just a few months, and you know what that means: fake news is back in full swing, returning once again to muddy the waters of the American political system. I started noticing a sudden increase in false headlines and sketchy spam emails the day after the Minnesota primary, and I'm certain they will not be letting up any time soon. During the 2016 election, fake news was rampant; afterwards, it became clear how serious a threat misinformation would be to the future of American politics and American society, in general. Therefore, I think people should be better prepared for spotting and avoiding it this time around. Here are eight tips to help you learn to avoid fake news.

1. Learn to recognize fake news sources.

Reddit

Some common ones seen during the 2016 election were Abcnews.com.co, worldnewsreport.com, empirenews.net, Thebostontribune.com, bizstandardnews.com, Fox-news24.com and of course, theonion.com, just to name a few. There are thousands more, and there will be all new ones for this election. Some are openly satirical news sources, some are news sources that intend to be satirical but give no indication to it on their websites and some are intended to mislead. Does the link end with .co instead of .com? Is it a familiar name but accompanied by random numbers? These are red flags you need to be on the look out for.

2. Use established news sources that you can confirm to be reliable.

ad fontes media

While the larger news networks may have their issues (I will never be one to say that American mass media is completely faultless), they are also the news sources with some of the best and most skilled journalists in the world. They got large for a reason. That doesn't mean any of them are completely without bias, though. And some news sources are more credible than others. I've included a chart above to help you evaluate your go-to news source, and possibly consider new ones. It would be remiss of me to fail to acknowledge that many people in the modern age get their news from niche and/or local news sources, as well as major news networks. That's okay, just be sure to evaluate them critically; all news sources have their own biases. And remember, opinion news is not the same as factual news; this means shows like Fox & Friends and Anderson Cooper 360.

3. Don’t ever click on spam links.

Small Business Trends

The next two points are more about stopping the spread of fake news more than refraining from consuming it. Spam links show up at any time of any year, but there is going to be a notable increase in the coming months. It has been predicted that in the two years since the last election, methods used by Russia and others trying to influence American elections will have become more sophisticated. Last time around, lots of fake news was spread by bots on Twitter posing as people that didn't exist. This time, your own personal information may be used to create a fake account using your identity to spread more believable misinformation. And how will Russia or some malicious hacker get this information? If you click a spam link in an email, text or message on social media, they receive all the info they need to pose as you. Don't let them.

4. Pay attention to the format on links your friends send you.

2Spyware

And to that effect, if you receive an email, text, message or notification from someone you know that seems a bit off, chances are, it's a fake. When someone you know sends you a link, pay attention to the URL or the format of what they send you; if it seems sort of familiar but slightly wrong, you've probably been sent malware by a fake account posing as someone you know. Some of you may already be familiar with a notable instance from last year, when lots of people on Facebook received a link through Messenger that sort of looked like a Youtube video, but was actually malware. Once you click one of these links, not only were you more at risk of being shown fake news, but your information can now be used against your friends and contacts. Learn to recognize suspicious links.

5. Don’t automatically trust polls. 

Fabius Maximus

It's really easy to show numbers and statistics on a screen and look sciency. It's hard to interpret complex scientific studies in an easily understable and relevant way. Almost all news network misuse polls at some point, some more than others. Sometimes, they give numbers from a study that was conducted by an organization with very little credibility. Sometimes, they draw conclusions that the original study was not meant to show. Sometimes, data is skewed to better represent the viewpoints of those conducting the study (or paying those who conduct the study). If you're going to inform your viewpoints with scientific polls, you need to understand where they come from and what they mean--that's kinda what science is all about.

6. Check the date of the news.

Know Your Meme

If you see someone citing news from 2008 to prove a point about the 2018 election, you should be a bit skeptical.

7. Double-check your news.

Daily of the Day

We live in a magical age where everything that makes the news can easily be Googled. If it's a big national-level story, multiple people will have reported on it if it's true, and you'll be able to get a clearer picture of the facts from multiple sources anyway. If it's more of a local story, you should at least be able to figure out by googling whether the news source you got your info from is real.

8. Don’t share stories or news without knowing its source.

SlideShare

I don't care how much you like the headline. This was one of the biggest problems with the last election: people sharing headlines that confirmed their views without actually reading the story through or evaluating its sources. In the age of misinformation, we all have to do better than that. Remember, in the end, it's not Some Americans vs. Other Americans, it's All Americans vs. Lies.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

59478
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less
Lifestyle

Challah vs. Easter Bread: A Delicious Dilemma

Is there really such a difference in Challah bread or Easter Bread?

38464
loaves of challah and easter bread stacked up aside each other, an abundance of food in baskets
StableDiffusion

Ever since I could remember, it was a treat to receive Easter Bread made by my grandmother. We would only have it once a year and the wait was excruciating. Now that my grandmother has gotten older, she has stopped baking a lot of her recipes that require a lot of hand usage--her traditional Italian baking means no machines. So for the past few years, I have missed enjoying my Easter Bread.

Keep Reading...Show less
Adulting

Unlocking Lake People's Secrets: 15 Must-Knows!

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.

959873
Group of joyful friends sitting in a boat
Haley Harvey

The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people.

Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Top 10 Reasons My School Rocks!

Why I Chose a Small School Over a Big University.

197767
man in black long sleeve shirt and black pants walking on white concrete pathway

I was asked so many times why I wanted to go to a small school when a big university is so much better. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure a big university is great but I absolutely love going to a small school. I know that I miss out on big sporting events and having people actually know where it is. I can't even count how many times I've been asked where it is and I know they won't know so I just say "somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin." But, I get to know most people at my school and I know my professors very well. Not to mention, being able to walk to the other side of campus in 5 minutes at a casual walking pace. I am so happy I made the decision to go to school where I did. I love my school and these are just a few reasons why.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments