Fake News Cheat Sheet

created using Education Basic template
published by Barbara Gray


Fake News


by Barbara Gray, Chief Librarian and Associate Professor

Fake news: stories promoted as news, which are actually misleading, rumors, hoaxes, clickbait, conspiracy theories and/or propaganda, and have not been produced with any standards of verification or fact checking. Watch out for satire too.



- Leigh Montgomery, Librarian at the Christian Science Monitor

How do I know it's Fake News?


Ask yourself these questions:

Who Says?

How Do They Know?

Is This Story Making Me Angry?

Is the Source Biased?

What Don't I Know?

Scrutinize the publication sharing the story, and the sources they are quoting. Are they even giving a source?

Have you heard of them? What makes them an authoritative source?

Does the story only present one side of a debate?

What facts are being left out? Do other reliable sources challenge these facts?

If so, it's probably designed to target your emotions and bypass your intellect. Take a breath, and check it out before you share it.

Does the Story Sound to Crazy to be True?

Then don't believe it, unless you've checked it out first with other, reliable sources.

Does this news turn up on any trusted site?

Google to see whether or how the news is being reported on legitimate journalism sites (but be wary of mistaking quantity for quality – fake news tends to proliferate).

Consider the pupose of the story or website.




Clicks for Ad $$

Confirmation bias: "our subconscious tendency to seek and interpret information and other evidence in ways that affirm our existing beliefs, ideas, expectations, and/or hypotheses...It can be most entrenched around beliefs and ideas that we are strongly attached to or that provoke a strong emotional response."

Beware of your own Confirmation Bias when you are verifying information. Fake News preys upon our biases.


Source: Facing History and Ourselves

Journalists and citizens can counteract Confirmation Bias, by counterarguing a story hypothesis and seeking out contrary information from authoritative and reliable sources.

Twenty ways to cultivate an open mind, From Overcoming Bias, A Journalist's Guide to culture & context by Sue Ellen Christian

Use a Checklist to Help Identify Fake News


Ten Questions for Fake News Detection from The News Literacy Project's Checkology Virtual Classroom

The News Literacy Project

Don't share, "like" or "unlike Fake News.


Don't share or engage with fake news on social media.

Report Fake News on Facebook. Follow these steps.

Don't buy what fake news pushers are trying to feed you. Educate your family and friends who spread fake news.