Category: News

5 Tips for Spotting Fake News and Misinformation Online

Ever since the creation of the press, there have been people who have been critical of the headlines that they’re reading. While there have been plenty of tabloids and parody publications throughout the years, it was easy to discern what was real and what was fake as it simply cost too much money to spread fake news via nationwide print.

These days, though, the internet has made it so that fake news can travel quickly. All it takes is a few bucks to host a website and post whatever you want to it, spreading the site across social media and calling it news. It’s now estimated that two-thirds of news on the internet is fake, but there are ways to take action. Here are five tips for spotting fake news and misinformation while browsing online.

Double-Check the Source

The easiest thing to do to spot fake news is to search the headline that you’re seeing on Google or Bing to see if the story is being reported by any other outlet. If it’s not, there’s a good chance that the story is fake news. However, a lot of people are either too lazy to check the story if it says something that they want to hear, and thus they’re more inclined to believe it. 

People that fall prey to fake news in this manner often share the news saying that “nobody else is reporting on this!” While that’s true, it’s not because the other outlets don’t want to cover it, it’s because the story is fake. When sites post news that nobody else is posting, you can also check the site’s history to see if there’s a string of fake news being reported, and that will give you a good idea of the authenticity of the source.

Don’t Look For Confirmation

We touched on it just a moment ago, but allowing your confirmation bias to take the wheel on the internet is how you can fall into a fake news trap. If you’re a Republican, you probably look for stories that talk about Hunter Biden’s laptop containing information. If you’re a Democrat, you probably look for stories that talk about Donald Trump committing crimes. Either way, you’re going to find a lot of stories that confirm your biases through fake news.

Sure, there are going to be some sensationalized headlines, but the contents of the story could end up being legitimate news. That’s because some legitimate sources want to make sure to grab your attention, and it can look like fake news. Headlines are often used to play to your emotions to get you to stick around the site. 

Date Check

Believe it or not, some of the fake news stories that get shared the most were actually created years before they went viral. A lot of people don’t bother checking the date of the articles that are posted, and the site’s owners will often recycle their fake content on social media until one hits. These fake articles are typically evergreen, meaning that they aren’t bound by a simple date.

One example of this is something along the lines of “Former teacher of the President speaks out for the first time.” If the article is old, from a site that you’ve never heard of and hasn’t been updated daily, you can bank on it being fake.

Beware of Satire

Satire is fantastic, as long as you’re in on the joke. There are satire websites like The Onion that do a good job of coming up with headlines that could sound real but are completely fabricated from scratch. When people fall for satire and think it’s legitimate, it’s referred to as “eating the Onion.” People who aren’t familiar with these sites can often fall prey.

Headlines like “Biden, Trump Die 2 MInutes Apart Holding Hands” or “Idaho Becomes Latest State to Permit Execution By Firing Squad” are definitely attention grabbers, but were both posted on the same day by The Onion. Other satirical websites include Clickhole, Private Eye, The Daily Mash, and the Babylon Bee.

Author History

Pretty much every credible news story will have a journalist’s name attached to it. After all, when a big story breaks, the reporter will want the credit for breaking the story. When you find an article that you think might be fake news, you can do a quick Google search on the author’s name. If they don’t produce any results, it could either be a fake alias or someone that isn’t an actual journalist.

Oftentimes, fake story websites will use aliases for people that don’t exist, giving them a photo that they found on the internet and the whole nine yards. A quick search can find this person’s history if they have one, and you might find out that what you thought might be fake could be written by a Pulitzer Prize winner.

5 Strangest “Florida Man” News Articles

Florida may be part of the United States and extremely close to Cuba, but it may as well be in another planet. Florida has some of the wildest stories known to mankind, prompting many news headlines where the subject of a bizarre tale is simply referred to as “Florida man.” There have been countless incidents of a “Florida man” capturing headlines, but these five news stories really take the cake.

Chick-fil-A Escape

Chick-fil-A isn’t typically a place where criminal activity goes down, but anything goes in Florida. In 2018, a man named Cory Hatzl made his way to the fast food chicken restaurant and stripped off of his clothes in the parking lot, and started to chase around two customers. Police were quickly called to the scene, and they tried to detain Hatzl, but he wasn’t ready to go down without a chase.

Police went after Hatzl as he scampered nude around the parking lot. During the altercation, Hatzl told anyone that laid eyes on him that they were “gay” for looking in his direction. Hatzl was ultimately charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, and his bail was set to $1,000. All of this happened on a Monday, too.

Lottery Liar

One of the biggest fears for a lottery player is thinking that you won something on a ticket only for a cashier to tell you that the ticket is a loser. That’s what happened when a Florida man was at a Winn-Dixie Liquor store in Fort Myers. However, the man wasn’t just any lottery player and was working undercover for the Florida Lottery Commission to bust cashiers who were pulling this very scam.

The undercover cop walked into the store with a $600 winning ticket, but cashier Crystelle Yvette Baton told him that he only won $5. The man walked out pretending to be dejected, but in a matter of seconds, she was arrested for the scam. Baton was fired from Winn-Dixie and her bail was set at $5,000. The Florida Lottery Commission said that another trick was to pretend to throw the ticket away after telling a customer that they didn’t win anything.

Cassowary Attack

There are a lot of people in Florida that have exotic animals, but having a large flightless bird like a Cassowary is pretty rare. The birds that are native to the Oceania region of the world aren’t popular pets but don’t tell that to the late Marvin Hajos. On Hajos’s farm in Gainesville, he had several wild animals including a Cassowary, but one day the bird fought his owner.

The altercation between the bird and Hajos ended up costing the farm owner his life. The Cassowary was not charged in the incident. As for Hajos, his girlfriend said that he died doing what he loved the most, and left it at that.

Bagels for Gators

While most of us prefer to feed animals like ducks while sitting on a bench in the park, things are much different in Florida. In 2019, 67-year-old Paul Fortin was arrested because he was illegally feeding, you guessed it, an alligator. Fortin would often feed the alligator bagels while patting the animal on the head.

“He’s a good boy,” Fortin said. “He lets me pet him…He just sits there and he loves bagels. He was such a good friend.” Fortin refused to be arrested as he didn’t realize feeding the alligator was illegal and compared himself to Dr. Doolittle. Thankfully for Fortin, he didn’t receive any significant charges but was told to stop feeding the gator.

Presidential Arrest

Every time there’s a president, you can bank on half of the country not being a fan of him. In Florida, one man really isn’t fond of Joe Biden. Jacob Philbeck was arrested in 2022 after the 29-year-old repeatedly called 911 to suggest that Biden be arrested and that druglord Joaquin Guzman (a.k.a. El Chapo) be set free.

It was in the early hours of the morning that Philbeck called 911 repeatedly with his requests, and eventually, police responded to his home to put a stop to his constant calling. Philbeck was arrested and posted a $150 bond. While police say alcohol “may” have been involved, you can probably guess that it was.

5 Weirdest Real Life News Stories That Sound Like “The Onion”

They say that life is stranger than fiction, and when you read certain news headlines, you know that it’s entirely true. There are some things that happen in our world that are so bizarre, that even the best satirical writers such as those at The Onion could never come up with these headlines. Here are five news stories that sound like they were ripped straight from The Onion, but indeed happened in real life.

Lost Hiker Ignored Unknown Numbers

One of the most annoying things that happen to all of us throughout the day is getting unwanted calls from unknown numbers. However, if you’re lost and have been trying to find help for 24 hours, you might want to answer your phone. A man who was out for a hike on Mount Elbert in Colorado got lost when it was dark, and the next morning went back to his car.

Those that were aware that he was aiming to climb the tallest peak of the Rocky Mountains attempted to contact the man since he went straight to his car instead of the lodge to notify that he was fine. Several people tried to call the hiker, but he didn’t recognize the number, and he let them go to voicemail. The Lake County Search and Rescue had to tell the public that “If you’re overdue according to your itinerary…please answer the phone.”

Spending To Announce Charitable Donation

During the Super Bowl in February 2021, food delivery company DoorDash spent $7 million on its advertising campaign, which included the ad for the big game. This included characters from the beloved children’s series Sesame Street, but there was only one issue. Much of the campaign was focused on the fact that DoorDash donated $1 million to the Sesame Workshop charity.

There were immediately people that were up in arms over the fact that DoorDash used the most expensive advertising slot in the entire world to broadcast that they donated $1 million. Perhaps they could’ve donated another $7 million without needing to talk about it during the Super Bowl.

Hunter Dies When Elephant He Killed Falls On Him

In one of the ultimate forms of irony, a man that was hunting large game became hunted himself. Not by one of the animals that he was hunting, but rather by the universe itself. Theunis Botha was 51 years old when he was leading a hunting expedition in Zimbabwe, going on one of his many elephant hunts.

However, the elephants started to charge at Botha and his group. Three of them were put down before doing any harm, while a fourth suddenly came from nowhere to lift Botha up. One of the hunters shot the elephant, but the elephant then suddenly dropped to the ground with Botha in tow. The elephant landed on Botha, killing him almost instantly. 

Dance For More Hours

Most large companies are completely tone-deaf as to what their employees really want while trying to be hip and connected with the youth at the same time. In 2020, video game retail store GameStop decided to have a competition amongst the employees to do a TikTok dance to see if they could go viral.

However, the winner of the competition didn’t win a big cash bonus. Instead, they got the chance to work 10 more hours over Black Friday weekend, the busiest weekend of the year. Sure, there was overtime pay, but it hardly seems like a winning prize for a nationwide contest. Thankfully, the winning employee was also able to receive an Amazon Echo 8 and a $100 gift card.

Illegal Voting Accuser Voted Illegally

There has been a growing number of people worried about election legality, and that includes a Nevada man named Kirk Hartle. Hartle said that he had proof of illegal voting in his home state, saying that hundreds of dead people voted during the elections. How did he know? Well, his late wife was one of them.

Hartle accused many of trying to steal the election using ballots signed by dead people, and it turned out that the man had used his wife’s name to vote in the 2020 election. Hartle was sentenced to probation and was fined $2,000 after being caught.