Step 1: Do a visual assessment
Assess the overall design. Fake news sites often look amateurish, have lots of annoying ads, and use altered or stolen images.
Overall, does the news article and website seem high quality?
Step 2: Identify the News Outlet
The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and CNN are examples of news outlets. If you haven’t heard of the news outlet, search online for more information.
Is the news outlet well known, well respected and trustworthy?
Step 3: Check the Web Domain
Many fake news URLs look odd or with “.com.co” or “.lo” (for example abcnews.com.co) to mimic legitimate news sites.
Does the URL seem legitimate?
Step 4: Check the “About Us” Section
Trustworthy news outlets usually include detailed background information, policy statements, and email contacts in the “About/About Us” section.
Does the site provide detailed background information and contacts?
Step 5: Identify the Author
Fake news articles often don’t include author names. If included, search the author’s name online to see if he or she is well known and respected.
Does the article have a trusted author?
Step 6: Identify the Central Message
Read the article carefully. Fake news articles often push one viewpoint, have an angry tone, or make outrageous claims.
Does the article seem fair, balanced and reasonable?
Step 6: Assess Spelling, Grammar & Punctuation
If the article has misspelled words, words in ALL CAPS, poor grammar, or lots of “!!!!,” it’s probably unreliable.
Does the article have proper spelling, grammar and punctuation?
Step 7: Analyze Sources and Quotes
Consider the article’s sources and who is quoted. Fake news articles often cite anonymous sources, unreliable sources, or no sources at all.
Does the article include and identify reliable sources?
Step 8: Find Other Articles
Search the internet for more articles on the same topic. If you can’t find any, chances are the story is fake.
Are there multiple articles by other news outlets on this topic?
Step 9: Turn to Fact Checkers
Do the fact checkers say the news story is true?