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Help! My News is Fake!: What is Fake News?

This guide offers recommendations for identifying and avoiding fake news as well as resources for more reliable information.

Help! My News is Fake!

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. 

 

What kinds of fake news exist?

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.

How do you know?

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

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Please see these other guides for more information:

http://libguides.pace.edu/fakenews 

http://abqlibrary.org/FakeNews

http://iue.libguides.com/fakenews