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Fake News

How to identify and avoid fake news

Help! My News is Fake!

Did your mother call you to tell you that liberals hate science?  Did your Facebook feed pop up with an article on a new pesticide that's going to kill us all?  Did one of your friends breathlessly tell you that president-elect Donald Trump was going to pardon mass shooter Dylann Roof?  You might have heard any or all of these stories, but there's one thread connecting all of them: they're not true.

The ability to tell accurate news from fake news is an important skill that you'll use for the rest of your life.  This LibGuide will give you valuable insight in telling fact from fiction online, plus a chance to exercise your newfound skills. 

Please feel free to share this guide with others.  If you are a librarian, you are welcome to use this guide and its contents for your own purposes.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

What Makes a News Story Fake?!?!

Can you verify it?!?! Really verify it!

It can't be verified explanation

Is it something that really riles you? Be riled, but be smart about what riles you - check it out.

Fake news appeals to emotions

Who wrote this? Are they really an expert - or just someone with an opinion or an ax to grind?

Authors aren't experts

Can you find another site or article about this topic that says the same basic thing? Is it a lone wolf? Don't trust it.

It can't be found anywhere else

Is it really a "news" site. Watch out for URLs designed to fool you. Is it a site that can be verified?

Check with your librarian - we can help!

Fake news come from fake news sites

How do you know - tell-tale ways to judge your news.

What kinds of fake news exist?     

 It's never too late to seek out good information!

Contact us at reference@goucher.edu

There are four broad categories of fake news, according to media professor Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College.

CATEGORY 1: Fake, false, or regularly misleading websites that are shared on Facebook and social media. Some of these websites may rely on “outrage” by using distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information in order to generate likes, shares, and profits.

CATEGORY 2: Websites that may circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information

CATEGORY 3: Websites which sometimes use clickbait-y headlines and social media descriptions

CATEGORY 4: Satire/comedy sites, which can offer important critical commentary on politics and society, but have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news

 

No single topic falls under a single category - for example, false or misleading medical news may be entirely fabricated (Category 1), may intentionally misinterpret facts or misrepresent data (Category 2), may be accurate or partially accurate but use an alarmist title to get your attention (Category 3) or may be a critique on modern medical practice (Category 4.)  Some articles fall under more than one category.  Assessing the quality of the content is crucial to understanding whether what you are viewing is true or not.   It is up to you to do the legwork to make sure your information is good.

 

Fact-Checking: The Facts

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.