How To Spot Fake News


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“Presidential election affected by fake news.” Sounds like fake news itself, right? The problem is, it´s true. Mostly set up by conspiracy theorists, fake news have reached a staggering number in 2016. A recent study from Stanford University found that students can´t tell the difference between news, fake news and commercials.

Well, the first thing to spot fake news is pretty simple: READ BELOW THE HEADLINE and think for a minute. If the news has pictures, it´s even easier to check it for fake content. Here are a few steps…

1) Reverse Image Search

There are two major reverse image search engines. Google and TinEye

Upload the image from the article you want to check and it will tell you, if it already appeared somewhere else on the internet.

2) Youtube DataViewer

The Youtube DataViewer from Amnesty International can check a video url for earlier uploads by checking thumbnails, upload date or scenes from the video.

3) Check the Metadata

Another option is to check the image metadata through an image EXIF Data Viewer. It shows you the date, time and often even the GPS data. You can either upload a picture or insert a link.

If a lie is telling you something you want to hear, you’re more likely to think it’s true. –Sharon Kaye

4) Fake-Check Algorithm

If you´re still not sure, you can run the image through FotoForensics. It will check if the image was photoshopped etc. Every manipulation leaves traces, but be aware, even the slightest improvements (color adjustments, for example) are visible. Meaning, you need a good eye, otherwise it´s pretty much open for interpretation.

5) Plausibility Check

Last but not least, you can take a look at the background and check it for inconsistencies. For example, if the weather in the image matches the time, date or the place where it was taken. You can do that with WolframAlpha. You can also check for street signs or building names by extracting letters from the image via FreeOCR (Optical Character Recognition).

In the end, it comes down to one thing: Double-checking takes time, but it´s definitely worth it.

Happy checking.


Chris G.
Founder Infinite Sense, Tech and Philosophy enthusiast. Always looking for common sense and a better future. // christian@infinitesense.org


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