BOISE - More and more websites that look like legitimate news sources keep popping up online, making it more difficult for some to figure out what is fact and what is fake.
Fake news articles have been all over social media recently during the election season from both sides of the political spectrum.
"They often look like or they follow a very similar genre or style of a traditional news source,” said Todd Norton, head of the Communications Department at Boise State University.
Norton said these fake news sources spread so easily with social media because it’s so easy to share. There are different types of these articles ranging from satire, to factual but biased stories, to stories that are completely untrue.
"Fake news is reasonably easy to create and make it look like legitimate news, so long as the fake news site looks and feels like and reads like and is consistent with the genre of a traditional news site,” said Norton.
“I mean I don't know what you have to do to be a blogger, but I don't think much. If I just pump it out there and it gets picked up by somebody and it gets repeated, you know I could put out any sort of misinformation I wanted," said Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs.
These fake news sites go beyond just the election. It happened here in Idaho. Over the summer, a story out of Twin Falls went viral on social media saying three Syrian refugees raped a young girl at knifepoint. It turned out, those weren’t the facts.
"People were told without any basis or fact that there was a cover up and that people weren't doing things that they should have done, so it got a lot of people angry,” said Loebs. “I think until they learned the truth, I think people lost confidence to some degree in what their officials were doing."
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