Sitara, here. You can probably tell since I don’t capitalize half of every other word, unlike some people (cough-Wrench-cough).
As Wrench so thoughtfully reminded me, there’s a ton of BS out there on the web pretending to be news when it isn’t. It’s made up to con you. Let’s talk about how to tell a fake news story from a real one, okay?
Here are the top 3 reasons people post fake news:
1. They’re selling something.
A research group that’s paid for by a cigarette company has a conflicting interest in not saying anything bad about cigarettes. Nudle saying their smart cars are awesome isn’t reliable—it’s not like they’re going to say their own product sucks. A TV station is really unlikely to criticize their major investor.
2. It gets them ratings or traffic, which means influence.
News outlets will sensationalize things (like this Shuffler BS) because they know it gets them clicks, and those clicks matter to the advertisers who buy space on their pages. Websites will post insane articles about celebrities to increase their traffic.
3. For shits and giggles. ‘Cause some people are just trolls.
Yeah, that one’s pretty self-explanatory.
I can’t emphasize this enough—do your research! We don’t go into an op half-cocked (not if we can help it). You shouldn’t make major decisions without knowing the facts. So check if someone else is saying the same thing. If it’s WKZ, take it with a grain of salt. We already know they’ll take money to kill a story. But, if it’s WKZ and the local radio station, and the Valley newspaper, and a Stanford researcher… better chance it’s real. Because we’ve got a bunch of different independent sources saying it. This isn’t foolproof, but it’s a good test.
What I’m saying is, don’t just believe something because everybody in your friends’ feed links it.