Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction, but often stories that seem preposterous are from fake news sources. Before you share a story, or cite it in your research, take some time to find out if it is real. Many people share stories before they even read them.
Sometimes determining if news is fake is as simple as performing a Google search, other times you will need to do a little digging. Some fake stories may be based on a grain of truth, or based on a misunderstanding.
Take these steps before sharing an article:
Advertisements can masquerade as news stories. Ironically, although they may contain the words "paid content", "sponsored content", or "advertisement", clearly labeling themselves as an ad, many people still do not identify them as such. The "article" above is actually an ad that appeared in the Delaware County Daily Times. Note the words "Special Advertising Feature" at the top of the page.
Sometimes satire is mistaken for actual news. The Onion is strictly a source for satire and humor, however, some of its stories still get shared as real news by those who are unaware. Be dubious of any story from the following sources.
Be aware of sites that mimic legitimate news sources. Often these will have .co at the end of their domain name. For example abcnews.com.co uses the abc news logo, but readers will notice stories that are less than credible, no publisher information, and links that do not work.