Have you ever heard or read something, and your first thought was FAKE NEWS?

We have all been there!

There is so much information out there in the world, and it can become a fun little game we play where we try to deduce whether the source was your mom's Facebook or an actual reputable source.

The game is getting harder and harder, though, as more people fall victim to the lies and deceit that is misinformation. Fact-checking is true investigative work. You cannot simply trust anything — not even the official articles you read online.

Except for us … we are always factual!

Listen up! media update's Alrika Möller is unmasking the secrets on fact-checking below.

If you are trying to decipher whether fact-checking is really needed, you might want to consider the following situation:

TikTok creator George Mason, or @GeorgeMasonTV, decided to test the content and publishing industry by writing a wonderful article about the upcoming Minecraft movie.

According to his article, actor Pedro Pascal will be starring in the upcoming film.

This is all lies. Mason made it up!

Pascal will not be starring in the film, as the film does not exist — at all. Mason even named himself as the director —because it is good to dream big.

The article was sent to multiple outlets and online publications that published it without even thinking twice — that is to say, without fact-checking! The article made waves around the world and caused even more websites to pick up this piece of fiction.

So, in order to prevent another confusing situation or cause people all over the world to get excited about something that is not, in fact, happening, you might want to check your facts.

How do you do that? I am glad you asked!

Check the publisher

Get your magnifying glass ready because this is a great place to start your investigation.

If the fact in question is published by a reputable website or publication, you can sometimes assume that they did their due diligence; however, if you don't know the website, you will have to dig a little deeper.

It often helps to have a look at the website's About Us page, as well as other pieces they have published in the past.

This will give you an idea of the expertise and whether they have writers on staff who research and write or if they are publishing anything from some unknown guy on TikTok.

If you spend enough time on a website, you will also be able to pick up any biases they might have. This will inform the type of information they trust and, ultimately, publish.

Research the author

This might sound obvious, but it is always a good idea to check who wrote the article you are about to believe with your whole heart.

Think of this as getting information on your suspects and witnesses — it's a crucial part of any investigation!

Some websites and publications are kind enough to provide you with some extra information on the author of the piece.

If you can't find anything on the website itself, you will have to do a deep dive. If you go onto LinkedIn, you will be able to get some insights into the author's professional life.

Another great idea is to Google them. It sounds simple, I know, but Googling someone will reveal any other work they have published, as well as other platforms and social media accounts they use.

Look for other outlets to corroborate

Any time you read something shocking, take the time to check if any other outlet or publication is reporting the same thing.

Every investigation needs witnesses who can corroborate some stories and alibis.

Whether it is a fun fact or a breaking news story, more than one website will mention it if it is the truth. If no one else can verify it, it is better not to trust it.

Breaking news is often easier to verify as people talk about big current events on social media and news outlets will pick up the story.

Any information that is not, in fact, a breaking news story but rather something being thrown around as a fact can be harder to verify. It will require some investigation on your part.

Verifying can seem like a lot of work, but it is always worth it when it comes to writing, reporting and believing the truth.

Have you ever caught a piece of misinformation red-handed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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*Image courtesy of Canva