It can’t be verified: A fake news article may or may not have links in it tracing its sources; if it does, these links may not lead to articles outside of the sites’ domain or may not contain information pertinent to the article’s topic.
Fake News appeals to emotion: Fake news plays on your feelings – it makes you angry or happy or scared. This is to ensure you don’t do anything as pesky as fact-checking.
Authors usually aren’t experts: Most authors aren’t even journalists, but paid trolls.
It can’t be found anywhere else: If you look up the main idea of a fake news article, you might not find any other news outlet (real or not) reporting on the issue.
Fake news comes from fake sites: Did your article come from abcnews.com.co? Or mercola.com? Or Realnewsrightnow.com? These and a host of other URLs are fake news sites.
Snopes is a reliable site that dedicate itself to uncover hoaxes and fake news. They compile a list of unreliable and fake news site worth checking when wondering if a news piece is real or fake.
How to Fact-Check Like a Pro
Check credentials: Is the author specialized in the field that the article is concerned with? Do they currently work in that field? Check LinkedIn or do a quick Google search to see if the author can speak with authority and accuracy.
Check the sources: When an article cites sources, it’s good to check them out. Sometimes, official-sounding associations are a biased think tank, or only represent the fringe view of a large group of people. If you can’t find sources, read as much about the topic as you can to get a feel for what’s already out there and decide for yourself if the article is accurate or not.
Look for bias: Does the article lean towards a particular point of view? Does it link to sites, files or images that seem to skew left or right? Biased articles may not be giving you the whole story.
Check the Dates: Like eggs and milk, information can have an expiration date. In many cases, use the most up-to-date information you can find.
Judge Hard: If what you’re reading seems too good to be true, too weird, or too reactionary, it probably is.