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Here's How To Spot A Fake News Story On Facebook

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In the week since the election, Facebook has received widespread negative attention. Many, including President Barack Obama, have called out the platform for proliferating fake news, claiming that those articles influenced the results of the election.

This weekend, Mark Zuckerberg wrote about his plan to take action against fake news. The Washington Post reports that the first step of that plan has been put into action: Facebook, along with Google, will now prohibit ads from sites with fake news. But that doesn't mean that fake news articles are going to disappear. Plus, there's still much to be done before we can understand the full extent of the influence these articles have, especially on a site like Facebook where according to the Pew Research Center, 66% of users get their news.

To help you figure out if what you're reading is a piece of satire or, entirely fake, Melissa Zimdars, PhD, an assistant professor of communication and media at Merrimack College, put together a full list of sites to watch out for when reading. Zimdar's list, spotted by New York Magazine, includes over 120 sites, some of which, including Politicalo and abcnews.com.co, are tricky enough to look like legitimate sites. (Zimdar says to out for news sites with strange domain names, especially ones that end in .co, and with names that end in "lo", since these are typically fake).

"Before sharing a news post, read the post," Zimdars told Refinery29 in an email. "So many people share or make assumptions based on a headline or Facebook description, which can be very clickbait-y or deceiving of the actual article's content."

Be wary of articles without specific authors and go to a legitimate news site, such as The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, to see if they, too, have covered the news.

The best way to take action when you see a fake news post is to report it to Facebook and not share it further. "Commenting on public posts or publicly shared sites can be tricky because it can put the commenter at risk for trolling and bullying," Zimdars told Refinery29. "But it may be helpful and safer to comment on and engage with people you're already connected to or personally know. "

There's enough happening in the world right now — the last thing you need is a troll coming after you for a Facebook comment.
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