Facebook and Google have been all over the news lately:
As for Google, it received a hefty fine from the EU.
It is clear that companies have a significant responsibility towards their consumers, as they can be held liable to legal action if they do not control the dissemination of fake news, which has proven rampant on these online platforms.
So, Facebook, Google, and Twitter have been due diligent in their efforts to squash fake accounts, news, and manipulative campaigns from their platforms.
“Don’t be evil” – Google
Facebook says it has removed 652 pages, groups, and accounts tied to two separate campaigns, after receiving a tip from cybersecurity firm FireEye about a network of pages and sites called “Liberty Front Press.”
Twitter also suspended a few accounts stating:
Working with our industry peers today, we have suspended 284 accounts from Twitter for engaging in coordinated manipulation. Based on our existing analysis, it appears many of these accounts originated from Iran.
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) August 22, 2018
Google also removed specific Google Plus and YouTube contents, according to FireEye.
The “inauthentic” social media accounts and pages that Facebook, Twitter, and Google removed appeared to be tied to two separate influence operations run by the governments of Iran and Russia, according to the social media companies.
The corrective actions taken by these companies are all in good efforts, but fake news, manipulative advertisements, and deceptive pages are still out there.
AMEinfo decided to gather 4 telltale signs of how fake news look like:
The story made you angry
You read a story about how the government was secretly spying on you. Don’t automatically believe what you just read and pass it on. Many false stories purposely play on our fears and anxieties, knowing that this will make people follow their emotions and not their brains.
The website is unprofessional or a copycat
You might read a story like “10 reasons why water will end in 2020,” following the first tip in this list of signs, it would be a major red flag already, but if you check the website’s address, you might find another red flag, and it comes in the form of either a terribly named websites like “IHateWater.com” or “ForbeArab.com”. This is, in fact, an attempt to imitate an authentic website, such as forbes.com. Typos and grammatical errors, whether in the domain name or in the content itself, are further signs of an illicit site.
The story is too funny to be true
Hear this out:
A 13-year-old swiped his dad’s credit card then purchased many video games and electronics and paid people approximately $2,000 to play with him. The police caught up with him, the story said. Plausible? Barely.
This story widely circulated over the web before it was revealed to be a ruse on the part of an Internet marketer, trying to get some quick hits for his site. He left the story up but added a disclaimer that it was merely satire.
Reputable sites are not carrying the story
One of the easiest ways to figure out whether a news story is legitimate or not is to check it against the stories posted on other reputable sites.
Here is an example:
Almost a month ago, many Middle East news sites reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was shot and presumed dead. You became alarmed but realized that you found out about this upsetting news on a website that you don’t recognize at all. Let’s call it BuzzNews.com. Merely conduct an online search for “Saudi Prince shot” and see what comes up in your Google search. If sites like The New York Times, CBS or CNN are running the same story, it’s most likely correct (in this case, it definitely wasn’t).