PressTips to Identify 'Fake News' Stories
By Jenn Bates, KWCH Channel 12 News
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Cassandra Bryan runs a website design company in downtown Wichita. She and her crew take great care making sure every detail is perfect for their clients which is something a fake news website creator won’t do.
“Sometimes when you click on one link there will be an error page, or things will load kind of weird and there will be big white spaces. That’s a sign of an inexperienced programmer,” says Bryan. “If the site takes too long to load that could be a sign that something is not quite right because the IP is bouncing around lots of different servers to hide where it’s really coming from.”
She also says be careful of excessive pop-ups and extremely busy pages that have a lot of outrageous photos. Also, if you are getting a lot of broken links or if it’s missing information like an address or contact information, that’s another red flag. The web address itself should also be an immediate clue. Bryan says be wary of anything that ends with something other than dot com and check to see if the address bar shows a lock. That’s a sign that it’s secure. Most people know about those tips but Bryan told me about one I’d never thought to check.
“People putting on websites can actually make what’s called a sub domain, and so if i bought wichitanews.com, I can make a subdomain that said kwch.wichitanews.com,” said Bryan. “But if you’re clicking on it from an email or from social media immediately you just see the first part of the address and that’s what’s really easy to fake. So i always click into the address bar and see what comes before the dot com, that’s the part that you can’t fake.”
All good things to keep in mind the next time you see someone share a story that has you seeing red. The best advice: take a second to look for all the red flags.