With the democratization of information that social media has brought upon us, it’s easier and easier for false information presented as fact to spread. While some of this is harmless, some of it is definitely not, and that includes pretty much all fake political news. Democracies require an informed, educated public, and fake news threatens that to the extreme. It can put people into physical danger, as seen by the Pizzagate shooting at Comet Ping Pong in Washington D.C. It also undercuts the credibility of real news outlets (although to be fair, a lot of them haven’t really been helping themselves out too much with their reporting recently) by distorting reality and providing an overwhelming amount of contradictory information.
While this phenomenon has been seen primarily to have a pro-right-wing bent, there was a fair share of left-leaning fake or highly sensationalized “news” as well. It can be difficult for some people to spot fake “news” and determine what’s a legitimate versus questionable source. Here are some resources to help you avoid reading and spreading fake news, as well as helping friends and family members who may be susceptible to it.
B.S. Detector, a plugin for Chrome that lets you know when you’re reading an article from a known fake “news” site.
Snopes, a fact-checking and debunking site that usually has the most up-to-date fact checking on popular misinformation and hoaxes. One of my favorite (and probably extremely annoying) things to do is find Snopes links that debunk articles that Facebook friends post and comment on their post with the link. I highly recommend it, it’s quite enjoyable as the postee, and maybe your friend or family member will learn something!