Tips to separate fake stories from real stories on social media

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter were on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning to face questions from the Senate and House intelligence committees about their companies' effects on the 2016 presidential election. 

During the hearing, lawmakers differed on the influence of social media in the 2016 presidential campaign and election. Republicans defended President Donald Trump's election while some Democrats expressed concerns that his narrow victory could have been delivered by Russian efforts on social media.

Virginia Senator Mark Warner focused on Facebook. Sen. Warner spoke about inflammatory Facebook posts that circulated. One featured an illustration of Hillary Clinton in a fistfight with a picture of Jesus.

10 News spoke with a communications expert at Virginia Tech and she had some advice for social media users about separating the real stories from the fake ones. 

"Look at the source of the publication, where is it coming from. Do you know other information from this source and is it reliable? Find out who sponsors the site, is it sponsored by some sort of a political organization or an organization that you've never heard of," said Jenn Burleson Mackay, a communications professor at Virginia Tech. 

Sen. Warner recently introduced bipartisan legislation with help from Sen. John McCain called The Honest Ads Act which would hold online political ads to the same standards as radio and television ads. So far, Facebook, Twitter, and Google have shown little interest in the legislation.