Stop spreading fake news

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We have all heard the phrase: “fake news.”

These two words have singlehandedly altered our sense of reality, truth and trust of educated and trained journalists from organizations such as CNN, the New York Times, among others.

Ironic how International Fact Checking Day falls on April 2, the day after April Fools.

This is the third year this “holiday” has taken place. It began after the International Fact Checking Network decided to launch a new tradition of reminding the public to double check information presented on social media and in the news.

It can seem nearly impossible to spot fake news, but there are simple, easy ways to stay alert and informed. 

It is vital to get a variety of articles from several sources. Do not rely on one paper or one television network. Following multiple sources on Facebook or Twitter provides readers with a healthy balance.

Second, beware of wacky URLs.

If you are scrolling through Facebook and see an article that claims something wild about a politician or controversial subject, it is important to look at the bottom left of the shared post to see where it originated. 

Don’t take it at face value. 

If it isn’t a link from a trusted newspaper, magazine, or news station, it’s probably a special interest website or blog tricking you into clicking and re-posting.

Finally, train your eyes to spot altered or Photo-shopped images.

For example, at the G20 summit in 2017, the Russian media shared an image of Vladimir Putin surrounded by leaders such as President Donald Trump and Angela Merkel.

If you compare the image shared by the Russian media to other, non-Russian sources, you’ll find Putin was edited into the middle of the group.

A photo like that spreads like wildfire online if no one takes the time to ensure it was genuine.

We are living in a strange time; A time where the leader of the free world calls journalists “enemy of the people.”

This rhetoric can only energize journalists to continue informing and serving the public with a passion like never before.