How To Identify Fake News with Milan Kordestani of New Anonynous Site “The Doe”
The Doe was set up to counter the rise in fake news, with real, legitimate news that gets to the heart of the story. Having spent years watching the rise in fake news, Milan Kordestani decided to take action and created the site.
The Doe knows a thing or two about what makes a news site and the news on it legit and have gone through what to look out for below.
Legitimate News Names Authors And Contributors
When any legitimate news agency publishes content, they will name their author and contributors for accountability. If there is no author on the article you have clicked, you need to lower your confidence in what it claims. The Doe uses anonymous sources to do this but all news is accountable and fully verified.
Where Was The Piece Published?
Where an article has been published can help identify whether it is fake news or not. Have you ever heard of the media organization before? If you have not, you need to find out more about them before you can trust any of their claims. If you have heard of them, you need to consider their journalistic reputation.
Find out if they have an editorial review board. This board is important because it holds authors and journalists accountable for their articles. It will also fact check claims being made. Fake news websites do not have these boards. The Doe is a fully verified platform for anonymous reporting.
You also need to check if the organization ever publishes corrections, letters to the editor or retractions. These are ways for the public to keep the media accountable. You should also find out who owns the publication. While the majority of the media is controlled by a small number of corporations, reading a climate change denial article on a publication owned by the fossil fuel industry should reduce your confidence in the facts.
Does The Publication Have A Date?
A lot of fake news websites will not add dates to what they publish so you can never tell if the article is new, months old or years old. They will often report facts from years ago without a date. Updating the language will ensure that people today will share the article as if the news is happening now.
Are There Specific Sources Named?
Legitimate news will reference reports, institutions, and studies by name. They will also provide a date of when the studies were conducted or published. A lot of fake news sites will use phrases such as ‘studies say’ while giving no further references or naming the study itself. Stating that there was a study that does not mean that something is actually backed up by scientific evidence.
You should also be wary of graphs, statistics, and charts because they are numerical. These numbers can easily be changed to seem more dramatic and push the view that the fake news article wants. There are many legitimate news articles where the source is protected and kept anonymous if their job is at risk. In these cases, you should note that the claims cannot be fully substantiated and the use of these sources alone does not justify any claims.
Is The Article Written Well?
Does the article have a lot of bad punctuation, grammar mistakes, and typos? These can be a sign that you are not dealing with a trustworthy source. The writer is likely to not be from a reputable institution and the article was not edited.
Do You Feel Angry Or Afraid When Reading The News?
If the news article makes you feel afraid or angry, you need to take a deeper look at the claims being made before you accept them or share the article. Emotions are not always trustworthy and fake news has been designed to tap into them. A lot of people accept headlines without taking the time to read the article and trustworthy organizations do use sensationalist headlines to attract readers. However, you need to take the time to read the article before you share it.
Check Your Bias
This is a hard step, but one of the most important. People are more likely to believe something if it lines up with what we already believe. It does not matter if it is true and people reject news that goes against their beliefs. This is known as confirmation bias and if you find that you seriously agree with a story because it lines up with your thoughts, you need to cross-reference it before sharing it.