How to Spot Fake News Ahead of the 2020 Elections

Photo Courtesy: G Fiume/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

The purposeful spread of misinformation on the internet isn't new, but there are ways we can avoid — and learn to recognize — it so we don't fall into the trap and distribute or believe false information ourselves. Some social media companies work hard to remove or label fake news as it runs rampant on their platforms, and others fall entirely too short in their efforts (or lack thereof) to do so. Facebook in particular takes the lead as the "referrer site for untrustworthy news sources over 15% of the time."

Recently, the spread of fake news about COVID-19 online has created confusion that resulted in a negative impact on public health. According to The Washington Post, politicians, celebrities and other public figures were the superspreaders of misinformation as "the source of about 20% of false claims." Here’s the reason we’re worried about it: We’ve seen fake news show up during the pandemic and the previous presidential election — times when we really need and are trying to look for the most accurate information — and it may happen again this upcoming election.

Thankfully, there are some steps we can take to protect ourselves from believing and spreading the false material.This guide will help you learn to identify images, videos and news articles that contain misinformation so they don’t slip through the cracks.