Facebook’s Horrible Advice on Identifying Fake News, and Some Better Ideas

Facebook has been beating the “watch out for fake news” drum lately, and most recently offered some tips to identify fake news. It includes all the standbys:

  • Look at the URL.
  • Watch out of “unusual formatting” and manipulated photos and implausible timelines.

As well as some completely silly ones:

  • Go to the source and read their “about us” page to make sure they’re a real news source.

Unfortunately as Mike Caulfield puts it:

This is all ridiculous advice, and it actually is the precise opposite of what experts do. Expert fact-checkers don’t count misspellings or rely on the site’s about page to tell them the truth.

The About Us page is probably the most absurd of the bunch, as Mike says:

You don’t go to the about page of a truly fake site and find a page that says “Site written by Macedonian teens and promoted by a Russian botnet.”

In other article’s Mike gives some tips on how you *should* fact check news.