5 Ways To Spot DisInformation On Social Media

Real news and fake news. Fake news and disinformation. There are a lot of stories floating and spreading on social media, but it is very hard for people, especially kids and teens to know what it true and what is not is not. Project B3 wants to help people of all ages learn to how spot disinformation and stop spreading stories that just are not true.

According to ABCnews, much disinformation (intentionally misleading) and misinformation (unintentionally misleading) is spread via social media. So, how do you spot these fake stories when they appear in your Facebook feed, Twitter timeline or YouTube playlist?

The creators of disinformation purposely make content that is designed to trigger an emotional response, so if you find yourself having those reactions, please pause and consider the following questions (ABCnews.com):

-Is this the original account, article, or piece of content?

-Who shared this or created it?

-When was this created?

-What account is sharing this? When was the account created? Do they share things from all over the world at all times during the day and night? Could this be a bot?

-Why was this shared?

If you use these questions and do some simple digging before sharing, you too can help prevent disinformation fires on social media, here’s how:

1. Search online for the information or claim. Sometimes, you’ll be able to find fact-checkers online who have worked to debunk them. If the claim hasn’t been reported widely by the press, there’s a good chance this is because journalists couldn’t confirm it.

2. Look at who posted this content. Inspect the poster’s profile, how long their account has been active, and post history to see if they demonstrate bot-like behavior. For example if an account posts at all hours of the day, from different parts of the world, and includes highly polarizing political content and content retweeted from other accounts, those posts were likely made by a machine.

3.Check the profile picture of the account. Do a reverse image search of the photo. If it’s a stock image or an image of a celebrity, then that’s a less reliable source because it’s anonymous.

The social media platforms have taken steps to stem the flow of disinformation but ultimately the only way to stop it spreading is for consumers to stop sharing it.

So maybe before you hit that share button, next time just stop and think, Is this real?

(Source: Erin Calabrese)


Project B3 thinks it is more important than ever for people of all ages to learn how to spot disinformation and be aware of what we are spreading on social media at this moment in time. Check your sources, use a critical eye and don’t agree with everything you read, just because you see it on a screen! #BeSmart