So often I have told young people to find a news source that they can trust, read a newspaper or buy a news magazine; you can’t get all of your news from the Internet or social media. Last week, I was listening to a story on a news radio station and they were doing a story about the outcome of the recent presidential election. The news anchor said he thought the outcome was driven by fake news sites and to beware of “sponsored” sites. As soon as I heard the word sponsored I remembered how many of these I have seen. These sites want you to like and share. They look like real news, but you see the word sponsored under the title of the story. During the last campaign there were a lot of these sponsored sites and we still see a lot of them, especially on Facebook.
I did some reading on these sponsored sites and here is what I found you should do when you suspect the story is not real. Find the original source of the information. You might find some of the quotes are correct, but the rest may have been taken out of context or fabricated. If the potentially false story you’re reading doesn’t link to an original source, that is a bad sign. Use a search engine to look for the keywords in the story to see if that “news” is being reported by any other outlets. Also, check the URL. If it has a strange ending, think twice about the story. An article claiming President Barack Obama banned the national anthem at U.S. sporting events—false, if you were wondering—came from a website with the suffix “.com.de,” which makes no sense. Finally, don’t trust a photograph. If you see a compelling photo and are just itching to share the story behind it, try this first: