The internet is a great tool to keep yourself informed. With so much content online, it can be a challenge to weed out legit content from fake.
Before the technology days, written material was easy to trust with the signature of a person who took responsibility of the legitimacy of the content and it was also easier to track the person if it wasn’t. Online content is not the same. It’s easy to write anything online without taking ownership of it or be able to track the writer. Fake information can spread very quickly with the click of a button. Believable photoshopped images and edited videos online can easily lure readers into scams or misleading information.
Below are some tips on how to steer away from fake content.
- Ensure the URL of the website you’re accessing is genuine Eg. Forbes.com vs ForbesHotNews.com. You may think you are on the same website but they are two completely different websites.
- Most website URLs based in the US end in either .com or .net. Any characters following those (ex. .com.co) should raise questions on the genuinity of the site.
- A padlock symbol next to the URL shows that the site is secure. While it doesn’t necessarily ensure the content is trustworthy, the lack of security should raise a red flag.
- Familiarize yourself with the website brand/publication name by researching the company or author. Read the ‘About Us’ section, or search for contact information. Addresses and phone numbers isn’t a hard and fast proof that the content is legit but it does confirm an existence of a writer that is responsible for the content.
- Be mindful of spelling errors in the content. Having no spelling errors does not make content legit but errors should make you question the content.
- Labels next to the content like AD or Sponsored means that it’s advertising content aiming to sell you something.
- Research topics of interest from multiple trusted sources. A lot of information online can be of individual opinions rather than true facts. Its your job to do your research thoroughly and accurately.