The spreading of "fake news" has been out of control for quite some time now. There was so much misinformation showing up on Facebook and Google, both sites had to make some policy changes.
To try and help end the madness, at the end of 2016, both companies started cracking down on sites promoting fake news. Meaning, they will shut down fake news sites that are using the companies' ad services.
Despite those efforts, the fake news epidemic hasn't gone away.
People aren't just being misled for entertainment purposes either. There have also been numerous scams and victims coming from this fake news phenomenon.
That's why you need to know how to distinguish between real and fake tech news.
Like-farming scams have been popping up all over social media lately. These scams are exactly what they sound like, an attempt to get as many "likes" or shares on sites like Facebook. The person behind the scam typically uses stories that will tug at your heartstrings.
The more likes and shares a story receives, the more likely it is to show up on other users' News Feeds. This gives the scammer more viewers for posts that can trick people out of personal information or send them to malicious sites.
The story that is originally posted normally has nothing dangerous about it. Only after the post gets a certain number of likes and shares does the scammer edit it and add something malicious.
A recent example of a like-farming post was about a young boy who was allegedly suffering from seizures. The post on social media claimed that the child had been airlifted to a hospital and asked users to share the post and pray for the boy.
The problem is, there is no proof that the child ever existed. Researchers tried tracking the boy and his family down to follow up on the story and found no records that could verify the situation.
It turned out that pictures of the child circulating on social media had been stolen from someone else's account. The scammer used the stolen photo to create the fake post.
This is a common example of a like-farming scam. Click here to see yet another example and learn how to avoid them.