Fake news (or narratives related to the news agenda) often concern the issues of public importance. They are created for mass distribution online in order to increase traffic or discredit public movement, a public person, political campaign, etc.
Fakes can be divided by types:
• conspiracy theories;
• hyper-partisan websites that distort facts;
• chain letters;
• confessions by pseudo-employees of companies that allegedly help to get a gift or a discount;
• wrongly interpreted photos and videos;
• viral rumours that have never been verified;
• unintentional errors — say, when a wrong name was written in a obituary, or an error was made in a report due to incorrect translation.
Creators of the Ukrainian website stopfake.org
have been exposing propaganda fake news against their country for many years. They determined criteria that can identify fake news.
You'd better fact-check the news if:
1. The message contains dubious statements, inconsistent or unknown facts.
2. The text imposes clear implications.
3. The text contains no links to a specific source. References to "competent opinion", "FBI experts", etc. are unreliable, too.
4. The text contains ready statements without supporting arguments.
5. The material is too emotional or uses pseudo scientific terms that frighten the audience.
6. The event is covered with the misbalance of opinions.
7. The message contains fear, perplexity, uncertainty, many options as the general context if information.
8. The material is presented in an absurd way.
9. The demand is to "immediately spread" the message.