It’s no big secret that people use social media to keep abreast of the latest news. And it’s also no secret that a lot of that news is fake or biased. So is it possible for activists to stay up-to-date by relying on social media for news? It’s a simple question but the answer isn’t so simple.

Can online news be trusted?

You can trust what you read online, to a degree. But you can’t trust everything. There are a few tips you can follow to make sure you’re getting the facts.

1. Read the headlines

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to only read the headline of a story. Even reputable websites use titles that were designed to engage the audience. Sometimes, those titles are misleading. You have to actually read the content of the article before you learn what the article is actually about. At times, the content may have nothing to do with the title. At other times, the title may be out of context and require further reading.

You can’t use news headlines as a source of news. So if you want to educate yourself about a topic, take the time to read the stories.

2. Consider the source

Not every news source is reliable. When you read an article, be sure to note the source. Have you ever heard of the website? Is it a news site, or a personal blog? Personal blogs are held to looser standards than news sites. In either case, check the ranking of the website. A site with a good ranking is also more likely to be accurate.

3. Take everything with a grain of salt

Every website and writer has a bias. Although that bias isn’t enough to change facts of a story, it is enough to slant the facts. When you read an article, think about the author’s bias. Is the article more liberal, or does it have a conservative slant? Try to only look at the hard facts. Statistics and numbers don’t lie.

4. Get both sides of the story

There are always two sides to a story. If you find an article that intrigues you, find out what other news sites are saying about it. Look for one article with a conservative slant, as well as one with a liberal slant. After you read both articles, you can determine fact from bias.

As long as you follow the tips above, you can separate fact from fiction. You can stay educated and in-the-know and avoid all of the fake news.

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