Quiz: Can you spot a fake social media account?

In between keeping in touch with your friends, staying up to date with the news and just scrolling through your feed, be aware that not everything on social media is always quite as it seems.

Social media can be a gateway to information about anything you care to look for, from tips on algebra to celebrity gossip. But how can you tell if an account is trustworthy or not?

How to spot a fake account online

What to look out for

When scrolling through your feed, make sure you're aware of who has written a post and why. The account could be politically motivated, set on changing people’s opinions, or it could be clickbait with the simple aim of getting the most possible clicks on another website for money.

Fortunately there are some simple checks you can do to spot accounts which might not be trustworthy both on social and online:

  • Look for a blue tick on Twitter and Instagram, or a verified badge on Facebook. That means the account really belongs to who it says it does
  • Check an image or photo out by doing a reverse image search
  • Does the account name, for example, have lots of random numbers and letters? This could suggest it was generated by a computer rather than a real person
  • Is the account name spelt incorrectly or does it have a BIG! GRABBY! headline to draw you in?
  • Pay attention to the URL. Is the spelling correct? Does it have lots of random symbols in the address?

These seemingly small things that you can look out for can quickly and easily make a big difference to the quality information you access.

Where next?

Quiz: Can you spot the signs of fake news?
How algorithms and filter bubbles decide what we see on social media
Be social media smart: Is seeing believing?
Fact or Fake?