Fact Checking comes to Google, and Why we are Attracted to Certain Stories

Following Facebook last year, Google is cracking down on fake news. With the addition of the fact checker, popular search topics are tagged if they are disputed by Snopes.com and Politifact.

Good old search
Fact checking turned on

While the fact check itself isĀ almost a subtle change to the interface, it should go some way into stopping fake stories from spreading.

Which brings me to the point of the article. Looking into how these stories are constructed reveals surprising details that can be used to construct experiences which serve factual stories.

The Anatomy of a Fake News Story

1. Exploit existing biases

Everyone is biased, period. Identifying this to cater to the audience is key to a fake news story.

2. Catchy titles

Grab the reader’s attention right away with a provoking, perhaps controversial title.

3. The promise of a big reveal

Don’t give the story away in the title, however inconsequential. Invite the user to read on.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it does cover the basics. So what can we learn from fake news to try and make real stories more interesting?

Design Principles for Creating a Better Story

1. Simplify the interface by exploiting familiar interactions and intuitive actions.
2. Grab the user’s attention with a good first impression
3. Create a layered story. Encourage discovery

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