The Northern View reporter, Jenna Cocullo, questioning the news she reads online. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

The Northern View reporter, Jenna Cocullo, questioning the news she reads online. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

Newspapers matter reason 55: No fake news. Here’s how to spot fake news online

For National Newspaper Week we want to help our reader spot fake news. #NewspapersMatter

The organization that represents newspapers in Canada has a new tool to help readers distinguish fact from fiction online.

News Media Canada, of which Black Press Media is a member, launched a media literacy tool called SPOT Fake News Online, a four-part questionnaire readers can use when consuming news.

The four simple questions are:

S: Is this a credible source? Check the source of the article – and be skeptical.

P: Is the perspective biased? Think critically and look for varying viewpoints on an issue.

O: Are other sources reporting the same story? Be your own fact-checker and verify the validity of the story.

T: Is the story timely? Check the date the story was published. Sometimes, stories use old information to take advantage of a timely occurrence.

READ MORE: Rupert Rampage kicks off National Newspaper Week with a special contest for you

New Media Canada CEO John Hinds said the tool was designed to be straightforward enough for people of all ages to use it, with the help of media experts who focus on media manipulation and bogus news reports.

READ MORE: Use of fake social media bots in Alberta election will come to federal vote: experts

“Fake news is often used as an umbrella term for misleading, false or fabricated information,” Hinds said. “It can surface in different shapes, sizes and formats: from false stories to manipulated photos or altered videos.”

According to recent polls by Ipsos, Earnscliffe Strategy Group and MIT researchers, nearly all Canadians have come across misinformation online, yet only 40 per cent feel they know how to identify it.

The polls also suggest 90 per cent of Canadians admitted to having fallen for fake news, and only a third of them regularly check to see if the stories they’re consuming are legitimate.

Hinds warned the tool won’t help those simply looking to debunk views they don’t agree with.

“The term ‘fake news’ is often used incorrectly, to discredit or dismiss information that people don’t like or agree with. SPOT Fake News Online is intended to help build citizens’ critical thinking and preparedness and increase their resiliency to disinformation,” he said.

The program is being funded through Canadian Heritage’s Digital Citizen Initiative.

Meanwhile, the non-profit Canadian Journalism Foundation has launched its own tool to fight fake news. The “Doubt It?” campaign is a collection of online quizzes and public service announcements from Canadian media personalities such as retired CBC host Peter Mansbridge.

– with a file from Salmaan Farooqui, The Canadian Press

READ MORE: Poll suggests Canadians concerned about fake news, but struggle to spot it

Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rose Sawka, 91, reaches out to her son Terry Sawka, on a daily visit through the window, from inside Acropolis Manor where a COVID-19 outbreak took hold on Jan 19. Rose was vaccinated for the virus on Jan. 20 and as of Feb. 25 has remained virus free. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
No increases of COVID-19 at Acropolis -16 residents now recovered

Vaccinations have helped to stabilize Prince Rupert long-term care facility virus numbers

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

BC Bus North was implemented under the NDP provincial government in 2018 when Greyhound cancelled services across northern BC. The transportation funding expires at the end of March 2021. (Photo: B.C. Transit)
BC Liberals call for immediate govt. renewal of BC Bus North funding

BC Liberals spent years ignoring need for better transportation in the North - Jennifer Rice, MLA

Prince Rupert Tourism is benefitting from funding for new welcome and wayfinding signage from the COVID-19 Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program. McClymont Park on the gateway into Prince Rupert is one of the first things tourists see entering the city by road. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
$695,000 Community Economic Recovery funds to benefit local organizations

Prince Rupert Tourism and Gitga’at Development Corporation to receive COVID-19 recovery funds

Wainwright Marine Services Ltd.’s “Ingenika” tugboat went missing in the Garner Canal area south and east of Kitimat on Feb. 11, resulting in two deaths and the rescue of a third man. (Wainwright Marine Photo)
Tug union demands Transport Canada protect workers along B.C. coast and rivers

ILWU makes safety demands following the deaths of two men and the rescue of a third

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read