The technological possibilities make it possible to create and distribute deceptively real fake news. On the other hand, highly developed forensic methods now also allow image, video, or audio manipulations to be recognized. Using software or an app, technically used markings similar to watermarks in the conventional image or video material can be identified and thus the origin of a medium can be determined even if they used the best printers for cardstock.

Important aspects for your source check

Instructions and checklists for a step-by-step and conscientious review of news reports are another helpful and everyday means of combating fake news.

Design features: How is the message designed?

A sensational writing style, an emotionally oriented text, lots of exclamation points, and question marks combined with spectacular images – all of these could be indicators of fake news. With this style, the content takes a back seat: Eye-catching packaging is intended to attract readers. Interests such as profit or propaganda could be behind the offer.

Check origin: Who is the author?

Check whether an author has been specified. Can you not find the relevant information directly in the article? Then the authorship should possibly be veiled. If an imprint is missing, distrust is required and the content may be dubious.

Source research: what do other sources say?

To get an overall picture of a situation, research other sources, and compare the facts presented. Pay attention to the context and time period in which the information and images appear. You can also use sources from other countries or in other languages. Sometimes translation errors cause misinformation.

Search engine check: where is the origin of a report?

If you receive a message via a messenger, you can check the content in a search engine. Copy parts of the message into a search engine field and search for the origin. Then filter the results for contradicting statements. You may find background information to help you get the bigger picture.

Facts and figures: is the information plausible and up-to-date?

Check whether the text, image, video, or audio file has a creation date. Check whether the figures and facts mentioned are plausible and up-to-date. If studies are cited, you can check the original study to see whether the information provided is correct.

Pictures, videos, and audio files: technically checking forgeries

Pictures, audios, and videos are now difficult to identify as fakes because they look deceptively real. However, if you have become suspicious because the medium shows something unusual or does not match the current information situation, you can search for the origin with the help of screenshots using the Google image search.

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