Hiawatha Bray, the long-time Tech Lab columnist at the Boston Globe, has an interesting article about fake news. Entitled, “Can computers tell if an Internet news story is mostly true or mostly false,” Bray’s article notes these common features of fake news on the Internet:
- Lots of capitalized words or exclamation points.
- Use of words denote extreme certainty such as “absolutely” and “always.”
- Sentences that tend to be shorter and simpler. (Which makes them easier to read and forward.)
- Fewer “love” or “laughter” icon clicks on Facebook. (Real news doesn’t usually generate such emotion, apparently.)
- The media sites where these articles originated don’t have Wikipedia entries about them.
- These sites, which may be similar to real news sites, have URLs that are long and filled with unusual characters. (Many reliable news sites are much cleaner.)