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Can You Spot Fake News?


Remember that alarming news story about the dangers of drinking out of water bottles left in hot cars?

Chances are you shared it on Facebook or worried about the few lukewarm swigs you once endured in an ill-advised moment of thirst.

But that was fake news. Newer plastic bottles pose no risk.

Roxanna Deane, the library director at Canyon Lake’s Tye Preston Memorial Library, has spent a good 50 years fact-checking everything — which is why she failed to fall for this most-recent urban legend on social media.

“Facts are facts,” she says simply. “If a piece of news causes you to be worried or upset, you have an obligation to check the facts.”

In her other role as president of League of Women Voters (LWV) – Comal Area, Deane invites the public to learn how to evaluate print and social media reports at a presentation entitled, “Real or Fake? How To Tell if News Is Real” from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7 at the library, 16311 S. Access Rd., Canyon Lake.

Included in the session is a handout that lists online resources to use for fact-checking.

Thoughts to consider:

  • Consider the source. “Click” away from the story to investigate the site, its mission, and its contact information.
  • Read beyond. Be wary of so-called clickbait headlines.
  • Check the source’s/author’s credibility.
  • Click through on links to see if information actually supports the story.
  • Check the date! Reposted old news stories aren’t always relevant to current events.
  • Is it a joke?
  • Consider your own beliefs and how they might affect your judgment.
  • … ask a librarian!

“Librarians always check,” Deane says.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages the informed and active participation in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy

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