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Fake News: How to Spot Fake News

How to Spot Fake News

What is fake news?

Fake news is not only not real, but it is a purposeful fabrication of information with a malicious intent. Those who create fake news hope to mislead and misinform the public, and are usually motivated by political or monetary gain. Compounding the problem today, unlike anytime in the past, is that news can be spread within seconds, and in great volume, around the world, leading many people to not critically evaluate what they are being told. Asking yourself the questions below can help you detect fake news. If the answers you find after asking yourself some of these questions seem unsatisfactory, you may be looking at a fake news site. If you have are having doubts about the validity of a website, talk to a librarian. They can help you sort out fact from fiction.  

How can I avoid fake news?

  1. Consider the Source Is the site you are reading a legitimate news source? Who is the editor? What company owns the site? What types of news does the site cover?
  2. Read More Than the Headline - Is the headline shocking? What is the actual content of the article? Is it intended to be satirical?
  3. Check the Author - What are the author's credentials? Can you find anything else out about them other than what's on the site you are looking at?
  4. Look at the Support - What sources does the article site? Does the support say what the article claims? Are those sources fake news sites as well?
  5. Check the Date - Is the story weeks, months, or even years old? Is the information in question relevant to what the article is claiming?
  6. Think About Humor - Was the article intended as a joke?
  7. Check Your Biases - What biases do you have already? Do you believe the article is real just because it is confirming something you already believe?
  8. Consult the ExpertsAre you still not sure if something is fake news? Talk to a librarian!

Adapted from http://www.factcheck.org/2016/11/how-to-spot-fake-news/