These days, fake news has become incredibly rampant across the Internet. There’s millions of incredible sources sharing untrue information everyday, spreading it across the online world, and making people believe certain things that are blatantly false or even outwardly malicious. From politics to world news to health advice, the Internet has become a raging cesspool of misinformation – all for the sake of sensationalism, creating an online debacle, or even just a few measly likes.
Nowadays, anyone can just make a quote-unquote ‘news site’ on the Internet to spread their own version of real events. Even with things such as web developer awards in Malaysia and Malaysia social media awards to help mark reliable sources against unreliable ones, it can still be hard and time-consuming to scour the Internet for those select few credible articles. Not to mention, with the sheer bulk of online content saturating the Internet right now, it becomes practically impossible for the average person to ascertain if what they’re reading is true or false – but what if there were steps to make it easier?
To prevent the spread of false political news or health misinformation during these trying times, here are three ways to tell if what you’re reading is fake or true news:
Spelling & Grammar Errors
If there’s one way to distinguish a credible news source from a less-than-credible one, it’s to examine the number of spelling or grammar errors – if any. Journalism is an authentic career that many news outlets take incredibly seriously; so credible and top-notch news sites often subject their articles to intense scrutiny, editing, and proofreading before anything is officially published. Less credible sources, however, usually don’t exert as much effort; and therefore, it is much easier for simple things like spelling and grammar errors to slip under the radar.
So if you click on an article and realize that it’s grammar and spelling are much less than exact, that’s the first red flag that something might be off with the site.
Poor Web Design
Again, authentic journalistic websites often take their jobs incredibly seriously. Not only does this extend to the written content of their sites, it also often extends to the quality of their web design – as any good content creator knows that web design is integral to keeping a person engaged and interested. Therefore, a bad web design is often the mark that the website was not made by a professional, and thus the content may be subject to some suspicion. (However, it is important to distinguish that by ‘poor web design’, we don’t mean an aesthetic style that you personally don’t agree with – rather, we mean a web design that is very poorly functional and incredibly hard to navigate.)
So, in other words: if you visit a website and the design looks as though it’s been made by the top 3 web design marketing companies in Malaysia, that website is probably safe. However, if the website is very poorly or crudely designed – that’s another red flag regarding it’s authenticity.
Incredibly Sensationalist Writing
Sensationalism in tabloid writing is really nothing new – but sensationalism in stories that should be purely informative, such as political or similarly hard news, can be pretty suspicious.
To further explain, writing that is incredibly sensationalist tends to use dramatic and extravagant words as descriptors, or play on human emotions rather than putting the need to inform at the forefront. Their overall tone may be charged with incredibly emotional energy, or they may use more unprofessional approaches such as all-caps writing. If you click on a political news article or a health advice article and find notes of sensationalism in the writing, there’s a high chance the news might be false – or at the very least, incredibly charged with the authors’ own internal bias.
When it comes to the world of news, it can be incredibly important to stay informed on all the right things. Avenues of politics, especially, require proper fact-checking and information for it’s citizens to make the best choices, and for democracy to continue to prevail. Therefore, readers should be incredibly critical of whatever they may click on and read, so as to prevent themselves from being led astray by news that could be blatantly untrue, or even harmful.