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Fact-Checking 101: How NOT to be Part of the Fake News Problem

Fact-Checking 101: How NOT to be Part of the Fake News Problem

If you’re using social media to connect with your customers, the odds are better than good that you’re not creating all of the content you post yourself. Sharing is part of the fun of social media, and it’s so easy. When you find a great post that someone else has created that your audience would appreciate, all you have to do is hit the ‘share’ button – and that’s where things get problematic.

[Tweet “People are writing outlandish headlines so they can get clicks and can get ad money.”]

Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg explains the issue this way. “People are writing outlandish headlines so they can get clicks and can get ad money.” It’s possible to find examples all over the political spectrum, from assertions that victims of mass shootings never really existed to claims that drinking salty cabbage juice will click cancer.  Some stories are so obviously fake that it’s easy to avoid passing them along, but there’s a lot of material that could fool a reasonable person into thinking it’s true.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure the material you’re sharing is legitimate and reputable before you share it with your fans and followers. Going through the fact-checking process can result in it taking a little longer to create your social media content, but it’s worth it to maintain your reputation as a reliable resource your customers can depend on to tell the truth.

Super Simple Fact-Checking Step #1: Google the Article You’re Thinking of Sharing

Putting the exact headline of the article you’re considering sharing. If it’s been debunked as fake news, you’ll see results indicating that. The top name in the fact-checking world is, which will share the original post, fact check it, and sometimes share how long the post has been around and different forms it has taken. Obviously, if a post has been caught out as fraudulent online, don’t share that post.

Super Simple Fact-Checking Step #2: Consider the Source

If your Google search doesn’t turn up anything troubling, consider the source of the post. Some media outlets are more reliable than others – and some media outlets don’t actually exist! Fan pages masquerading as legitimate news outlets are responsible for much of the misinformation on Facebook and other social media outlets.  Wikipedia maintains a list of known fake news sites. If the post you’re considering sharing comes from a known fake news site, don’t share it.

Super Simple Fact-Checking Step #3: Wait Two Days

48 hours is an eternity on social media. If the post you’re considering sharing makes you wonder if it is or isn’t fake news, give it two days. In that timeframe, most fraudulent stories are debunked. If the story is legitimate, you may see additional coverage of that story appear in other places. You can even do your own research, particularly if the post is of local concern. A quick phone call to confirm or deny a story is true can save you the embarrassment of sharing misinformation.

What Happens if You Shared Fake News by Mistake?

Everyone makes mistakes. If it comes to your attention that a post you shared was fake news, the best way to handle it is to remove the post, make a post stating that it was fake news and you’re sorry for sharing it, and promise to do better in the future. We’re in a very dynamic messaging age, and your fans and followers know that fake news happens. The key is handling it in a professional, authentic manner. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Just do your best to avoid repeating the same mistake!

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Creative Director/Senior Designer

Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

In his off hours, Tom is an avid pop culture enthusiast, staying up to date on the latest shows, films, comics and games. He can also typically be found taking part in a whole host of artistic activities that help him further stretch his creative legs. Regardless of the activity, Tom is always accompanied by his dog, Eli, and his cat, Tib.

Design, Photography, Illustration, Digital Imagery Manipulation, Wesbite Development

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, HTML/CSS, Wordpress


Courtney Dumont

As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

Marketing Strategy, Data Analysis, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media

Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Creator Studio, Instagram, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Emma Mail, Google Data Studio, WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office