Fake news has now become an illegitimate industry, spreading rapidly on all our favorite social media platforms, locally and abroad. Unscrupulous opportunists have piggybacked on techniques used in journalism to build organizations and drive political and religious agendas.
It is important for us to know when we are reading the legitimate news and more importantly to know who the source of these news articles are and where they originated. I have compiled a comprehensive checklist for you to use in assessing websites, articles etc. This will avoid sharing false information with your Social Media following and the unnecessary panic that comes with the distribution of illegitimate information.
- Check the URL.
Your URL is basically the web address you are visiting. Make sure the URL is in line with the news page or media house. Sometimes the URL will contain numbers instead of letters to create confusion. For example:
- This is an URL for a fake site http://t1meslive.co.za/
- This is the legitimate URL for Times Live http://www.timeslive.co.za/
- Is the article missing references or links?
Normally, an online article or news piece contains certain links. These links are for the reader’s convenience and allow the reader to access more about the topic, being reported. If an article misses links, references, citations. It is a red-flag. Links/hyperlinking validates the article and ensures accountability. Just as demonstrated below:
- Is the Writer/Author/Journalist’s name missing?
Most Writers, after putting in the time and the effort to compile a news story/article or opinion piece, make sure that their name is found in the By-line. When any media piece does not contain an author, the reader should immediately question the legitimacy of the article.
- Can you find anything in the ‘About Us’ section of the website you’re on?
Most websites have an ‘About Us’ section. This section will provide a summary of what the site aims to achieve. Check whether the site you’re on promotes trustworthy news and if the site has any authoritative journalists or writers. For example:
- Double check the facts
News spreads rapidly. If what you are reading is the truth, chances are that the internet will be exploding with articles, similar to what you’re reading, from other reliable sources. Before sharing, make sure you’re sharing facts.
This is a list of SOME of the fake news sites in South Africa
- Daily Buzz SA
- African News Updates
- Live Monitor
- News-24 TV
- Gossip Mill Mzansi
- South Africa Latest News
- Pretoria Live
- Celeb gossip
- National News Bulletin
Before you like, share or follow make sure you’re visiting a legitimate news site.
Tatum-Lee is a Born Again Christian, qualified Writer and Content producer who resides in Cape Town, lives on Facebook and reads books for breakfast. She makes a conscious effort to remain on top of the news and is equipped to produce all kinds of content, works exceptionally well with briefs and makes people look Kwaai on Facebook. She loves getting paid for her work, but really hates asking for money, so if ever you are in need of content, no rhetorical questions are allowed. Also, never use the word also.