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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 11 August, 2020
Advertisement's toolkit for spotting false news

Here are some simple practical tools anyone can use to identify misinformation.

Image: Shutterstock/Jo Panuwat D

SPOTTING FALSE NEWS is not always straightforward.

Here are some simple, practical things anyone can do to identify misinformation. 

The three things to remember: stop, think, and check


A trusted source is your safest option

If you don’t know the source, check out the about page or ask yourself why they’re sharing the story.

If there’s no source, search for one

You can search for images to find out where they’ve been seen before or search for the story to see where it started.

If it doesn’t look right, be careful

False news can be hidden on websites made to look like the real thing. Look for the little clues: phony URLs, bad spelling, or awkward layouts.


Get the whole story, not just a headline.

One click can help you spot false news. Read the whole story and watch out for images, numbers, and quotes that don’t have sources or that might have been taken out of context.

Images can be faked.

False news stories often contain images or videos that have been changed. Even real images can be made to look like things they’re not with a false date or caption.

Check what other people say.

Check out the sources they give. See what trusted news sites or fact checkers are saying – breaking news is quickly picked up by different news sources. In an emergency, look for the official emergency services.


People who make false news try to manipulate your feelings.

They know that making you angry or worried means they’re more likely to get clicks. If it’s winding you up, stop and think how you could check it before you share.

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Hope can be used to manipulate us too. Most of the time, the miracle cure doesn’t exist.

Don’t be the one who doesn’t spot the joke.

Sometimes jokes and satire online aren’t obvious. Funny or outrageous details, the way it’s written, or the site it’s on might give it away.


If you want to do more, here are some resources and further reading which may be useful. 


Here are all the other organisations verified by the International Fact-Checking Network’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here.

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