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Fake and Misleading News

What is Fake News?

What is fake news? It isn't simply news that you disagree with. It comes in many forms that often overlap.

  • Entirely fabricated information or grossly distorted versions of actual events.
    Example: abcnews.com.co.
  • Extreme bias that presents opinion as fact or uses factual content out of context.
    Example: Daily Kos.
  • Clickbait (often factual content that uses exaggerated or misleading headlines or images to encourage people to click).
    Example: Mad Patriots.
  • Satire or parody (humor, irony, or exaggeration) used to comment on current events.
    Example: The Onion.

Adapted from Melissa Zimdars' categories in False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources.

How to Spot Fake News

Help stop the spread of fake news: Think before you share!

In addition to general strategies for evaluating sources, the infographic below provides evaluation strategies specific to news sources.

How to spot fake news. 1. Consider the source. Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info. 2. Read beyond. Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What's the whole story? 3. Check the author. Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they real? 4. Supporting sources? Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story. 5. Check the date. Reposting old stories doesn't mean they're relevant to current events. 6. Is it a joke? If it is too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure. 7. Check your biases. Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgement. 8. Ask the experts. Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site. This infographic developed by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.
Infographic created by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.

Help stop the spread of fake news on Facebook by reporting it for review.

Other Resources

Although nothing can replace your own careful evaluation, these tools can help you determine whether a news source is reliable.

Fact checking websites can help you determine whether some claims found in the news are true. The following are some of the most widely respected and trusted fact checkers.

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Guide Owner

This guide is maintained by D'Arcy Hutchings.

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