52% of Americans believe online news websites report fake news regularly. For many people, it’s gotten to the point where they had a hard time telling anymore what’s real and what isn’t.
The truth, however, is more complex than that. There is excellent and unbiased reporting from news organizations around the world. At the same time, fear-mongers, advertisers, and political agents also spread fake news to suit their personal purposes.
So how do you tell the difference between the two? Here’s everything you need to know.
Step 1: Slow the Consumption
There is such a thing as too much information. Many people, especially older adults, grew up in a time when the news meant a couple of programs on TV in the evening. Thanks to the 24-hour news cycle and stations like CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, there’s always something happening.
Unfortunately, the internet has only made things worse. Now, you can get an update sent directly to your phone interrupting whatever you’re up to.
Real or fake news, you have to slow down the intake. The news and all the various platforms will still be there. Set a time to get updates and then put it aside. By doing so, you’ll have more clarity and perspective to better filter out the fake news from your feed.
Step 2: Is it a News Agency or Aggregate?
News agencies directly report the news. If you read a newspaper, browse a news website, or watch a news program, you know exactly who the source is.
But many of us get our updates from places like Yahoo and Google. These are news aggregators that collect all the stories across outlets. You can’t tell who the source is, whether the news is credible, or where it even comes from.
While aggregators are a good place to do a little research, stick to trusted news portals before you put any faith into what you read.
Step 3: Choose Your Sources Wisely
News should be unbiased. Unfortunately, people aren’t. But there’s a huge difference between expressing a preference and bending facts to suit a purpose. As you consume these stories, pay attention to the language their presenters or writers use.
Ask yourself whether they are reporting something or whether they are trying to convince you of a point? While editorials have long been a staple of the news, you should be able to spot the difference between their opinion and facts.
Step 4: Beware Facebook and Twitter
Facebook and Twitter are one-part aggregators and one-part general chaos. Between real news stories, you may have commentary from your acquaintances, shared stories from fake sources, and self-appointed expert testimonials.
While we’re not saying you can’t use Facebook and Twitter for news updates, you need to pay attention to where the information comes from. Keep an eye out as for imitations of real news portals while you’re at it.
Step 5: Don’t Be a Part of the Problem
Follow this guideline: never share new stories unless they have a source. This is how fake news has been able to spread. People see a headline and share it without taking a moment to see the story is 100% bogus.
For this reason alone, you may want to err on the side of caution and resist the temptation to share news stories in general.
How to Get Real News Stories
Now that you have the basics of filtering fake news, here are a few helpful tips to get more real news in front of you.
First and foremost, you should use a VPN. Many sites on the web, including fake news outlets, use trackers that follow you around the web. They may then pop up on Facebook and in other places. With a VPN, you conceal your IP address, making it much more difficult for anybody to track what you do online allowing you to get an unbiased look at the internet.
Check out this NordVPN coupon to see if it’s the right fit for you. With a top-quality VPN like NordVPN, you’ll get greater privacy and security and other excellent features.
Next, balance out your news. You don’t have to read one liberal news story than a conservative. But you should use different sources like websites, journals, and local news to get the complete picture.
Finally, question everything. Is this really a new story or is somebody trying to provoke a reaction in you?
Don’t fear the news any longer. Get the truth by following these tested strategies now.