A Simple Technique to Avoid Exposing Yourself to Fake News

It’s very important to only consume news stories coming from reputable sources. As a citizen, it’s your responsibility to choose your own sources wisely and fairly.

The strategy described below uses free online tools to generate a personalized feed of news stories. The stories in your feed will be coming from reputable sources chosen by you, and will not be coming from sources you’ve deliberately chosen to exclude.

The technique is simple, and takes only a few minutes to get started with. The instructions provided below are for use on a desktop browser. After initial setup on desktop, you will be able to access the same feed of stories using either a desktop or a mobile browser.

Here are the free tools we’re going to use:

  • Chrome browser
  • StyleBot Chrome extension
  • Google News website

If you don’t have Chrome installed on your computer already, you can download it here.

Step 1/4: Open up your Chrome browser, and head over to Google News.

Step 2/4: If you’re not already signed in to your Google account, sign in to Google News using the “Sign In” button in the upper right corner of the page.

Step 3/4: Once you’re signed in to Google News, add the StyleBot Chrome extension to your browser using this link. This extension allows you to add your own CSS styles to websites you visit, allowing you to change any website’s visual appearance in your browser.

Google News doesn’t provide users with an option to hide their right hand sidebar of “recommended content”, and I’ve noticed a lot of questionable sources included there. We’re going to use the StyleBot extension to hide the sidebar.

Once the StyleBot extension is installed, you should see its small “CSS” icon in the upper right corner of your Chrome browser window. Click on the extension’s icon, and choose “Options…”.

In the left hand sidebar, choose “Styles”, then click the “Add a New Style…” button on the right side.

In the modal window, type “news.google.com” in the “URL” field, then paste the following CSS code into the code editor:

Our custom styles to hide the Google News sidebar

When you’re done, your window should look like this:

Our custom CSS styles for Google News

Go ahead and click the “Add” button, then feel free to close the StyleBot extension’s tab in your Chrome browser.

Step 4/4: Back on Google News, click “Manage sections” at the bottom of the left hand sidebar:

The “Manage sections” link

Click on “Sources” in the left hand sidebar:

Google News custom “Sources”

Type in your preferred and blocked sources, in the fields labeled “Enter source”. I prefer to block not only inaccurate sources, but also sources that lean too far right or left. For a good starting point, check out this list of reputable sources, courtesy of Forbes.

The rest is up to you. Choose wisely, and stay informed!