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How you can spot fake political news on social media

Posted at 8:11 AM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 08:11:09-05

(WXYZ) — Fake news in politics. It’s something you’ve likely come across on the internet. So how can you spot it? And will it be less prevalent with a new President?

This week is News Literacy week, a whole week dedicated to helping our viewers and reader spot fake news stories, stop people from sharing misinformation and learn how to tell the difference, when so much looks real.

Articles are easy to find and share, like an article about soldiers sleeping in the Capitol prior to the inauguration. Just a few hours after it was taken, it popped up on social media with a caption "reports are coming in from the Capitol, massive gunfight." Not true.

Newsy Congressional Reporter Nate Reed took that photo and posted it to his Twitter. He learned quickly he couldn't control where it went from there.

The spread of fake news happens across all political parties, and it's growing.

In 2019, 8.6 billion engagements on social media involving fake news

In 2020, 16.3 billion engagements on social media involving fake news

"Fake news now has become weaponized in politics. It's getting worse," Chris Halsne said. He's an investigative journalist and lecturer at American University. "It's g

One example is violence erupting on capitol hill with some Individuals believing the inaccurate articles and justifying their actions in the name of truth.

"I could coach people on how to spot fake news, a fake headline, most of them don’t care any more, people are seeking out news that matches their opinions," he said.

But if you do care. How can you spot fake political news?

Journalism professors say take a look at who the writer is? What the publication is? Who pays their salaries and how long has it been around. Also

Don’t just look at one news source.

Gabby Deutch is with Newsguard, an emerging fact-checking company making software that libraries, businesses, and yes, families with fake news loving relatives are installing on computers.

The way it works is each time a news article appears, a green checkmark or a red exclamation point pops up, indicating whether you can trust it or not.

The company has a conservative CEO and a liberal CEO to ensure the company isn’t biased.

"We believe there is a large chunk of people in this country who care about getting accurate information," Deutch said.

One thing Duetch says is fake political news will not be going anywhere it’s simply too cheap to create and appealing to someone’s emotions is easy.