Before You Share That News Article, Make Sure It’s Not from a Bot
Bots have infiltrated social media and news sites around the world, playing on our biases and attempting to spread misinformation. If you’ve been wondering why certain articles are being recommended to you so often, or why an article that used to be at the top of your feed has suddenly disappeared, it could be because it was posted by a bot. That’s why it’s more important than ever before to know how to spot them before they spread false information around the internet. Luckily, there are ways you can do just that!
What are bots?
A bot is an automated piece of software that runs on social media platforms. Bots are often used by marketers to share content that they want to be seen by more people than they could reach on their own. They’re also used by spammers and malicious actors who want to spread misinformation or publish fake news stories in order to deceive people online.
6 ways to check if the content is fake
- See if the domain is owned by the same entity that posted it.
- Check if there are any grammatical or spelling errors in the content.
- Check if there are any links that lead to suspicious websites or ads.
- Check if the account has been created recently and seems to be posting frequently with a high volume of posts on multiple topics.
- Look at the photos in their timeline – do they have a mix of different styles? Or just blurry images?
- If you can’t find contact information for the publisher, double-check its validity before clicking on links or sharing this content!
3 tools for fact-checking articles
- Check the source. The best way to tell if an organization is real is to visit their website and look for the About Us page. Often these pages have contact information like an address or phone number, which you can use to verify the organization.
- Check the URL. A shortened URL that only has letters and numbers in it might be a sign of a bot or scammer because it looks more like an email address than a website name. Look at how often they post articles. Reputable organizations will usually publish new articles on a regular basis, but bots may just share content once every few weeks or months.
- Check what other people are saying about them. If there are any negative reviews out there you should read them carefully to see if they’re valid points about what the company does wrong before making your decision to share.