What is “Fake News”?

“Fake News” is nothing new. It has been around since the invention of print. Social media has simply allowed fake stories to spread at a much faster rate than ever before. Fake News can be inaccurate information that is not necessarily deliberate. But it can also be false information that is intended to mislead and play on the emotions of those in the targeted audience.

Fake News is NOT:

  • news you disagree with
  • articles that paint someone you admire in an unflattering light
  • from only one side of the political spectrum

How to Spot Fake News

(from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions – IFLA)

  • Consider the Source – Investigate the story and the site it came from.
  • Check the Author – Do a quick search on the author. Is s/he credible? Is s/he real?
  • Check the Date – If the story is old it isn’t relevant to current events.
  • Check Your Biases – Consider whether your own views are affecting your judgment.
  • Read Beyond – Headlines can be misleading. What’s the whole story?
  • Supporting Sources – Click on the links provided. Do they actually support the story being reported?
  • Is It a Joke? – There are many satire sites, some of which tell you that’s what they are.
  • Ask the Experts – When in doubt, ask a librarian or consult a fact-checking site like politifact.com or fact-check.org.

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