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Alert: Spotting fake news sites

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(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

The recent election cycle saw a dramatic rise in fake news sites.

Ken Colburn is a computer and technology expert with Data Doctors. “It’s reader beware on all fronts," he says.

Fake news and fake news websites have been front and center lately. Mani Singh uses social media. "I tried to filter out as much as I could and stick with facts."

"Pope Francis Shocks the World, Endorses Donald Trump for President" is just one example of fictitious news that circulated across the Internet.

And since the U.S. Presidential election, fake news continues. In fact, there was a recent post showing President-elect Donald Trump won the popular vote, which isn't true. Hillary Clinton did.

Colburn goes on to say, "By all accounts, this year's election there was an impact from a lot of fake news sites that were out there that professed to have inside information, stuff that the media won't cove, those kinds of things."

According to The Pew Research Center, 66 percent of Facebook users get their news from the social media site. And that can be detrimental if the news they're reading isn't factual at all. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg weighed in on the matter. "I think the idea that fake news on Facebook influenced the election in any way. I think is a pretty crazy idea."

A few days after making those comments, Facebook said it will go after fraudulent websites by restricting ad revenues. Facebook also plans to launch a program allowing users to flag fake news when it's caught. Twitter is also doing what it can to cut down on phony news articles.

Colburn adds, "People are basically having a tough time figuring out what's real and what's fake these days."

Colburn also said many of the fake sites originate out of Macedonia by people hoping to make a buck from those fake news sites. "If you can generate traffic to a website you can plug that website you can plug that website into multiple different advertising networks that will pay you for that traffic"

So how can you tell a fake news site from the real thing?  Colburn says, "First thing is to look at that web address and see if there's any suspicious extra letters or dot, dot's there's a lot of stuff if you start paying attention you'll be able to sniff out right away."

For additional information regarding fake news sites visit: http://www.datadoctors.com/help/kenscolumns/22116-Tips-for-Sniffing-Out-Fake-News/

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
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With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

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He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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