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Evaluating News: "Fake News" and Beyond

Thanks to Erica Nicol at Washington State University for permission to use her work

Fake News

What is Fake News?

Fake news is information that is clearly and demonstrably fabricated and that has been packaged and distributed to appear as legitimate news. There are other forms of false information that you can encounter, too. Watch the following video to learn about fake news and how to recognize it:

Source: CyberWise. "What is Fake News?" Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 10 August 2019. 18 June 2020.

How to Spot Fake News

Get familiar with the different kinds of misinformation by reading Understanding the Fake News Universe by Media Matters. There are many ways that you can spot fake news.

  • Consider the Source. Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and contact info.
  • Read Beyond. Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What's the whole story?
  • Check the Author. Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they real?
  • Supporting Sources? Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story.\
  • Check the Date. Reposting old news stories doesn't mean they're relevant to current events.
  • Is it a Joke? If it seems too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and the author to be sure.
  • Check Your Biases. Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgement.
  • Ask the Experts. Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site.

How to Spot Fake News