How to spot fake news

It’s not always easy to tell whether something online is real or not, especially when it’s upsetting or worrying. But our tips can help you decide.

Not everything posted online is real or true. But there are lots of ways to spot fake news:

  1. Don’t react straight away
    Fake news is often designed to make you scared, worried or angry. And this can make it hard to think. Take a few minutes before you react or comment on something.
  2. Think about whether it could be a hoax or made-up
    Lots of people spread rumours online. Sometimes a picture could be posted with a made-up story, or with language to try and grab your attention.
  3. Check the source
    Look at the name of the website and see whether it looks real. Try to find out whether there’s any evidence to back up what’s being said, or if it’s been confirmed on news websites you trust.
  4. Look at the date and other information
    Lots of older posts and news articles might have out of date information. If you’re looking at a picture, check to see if there’s anything that doesn’t make sense or that doesn’t look real.
  5. Ask an adult you trust
    Always get a second opinion when you’re not sure. Try asking someone you trust, or speak to a Childline counsellor.

If you’ve been sent something and you’re not sure if it’s real, don’t share it.

Updated: 13 July, 2020