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.
“The essence of journalism is a discipline of verification”
Quote from the book The Elements of Journalism by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel
Reliable news sources and ethical journalists "seek truth and report it," research to verify and seek corroboration of facts, require an editing process and are transparent about errors and correct them.
" CRITICAL THINKING IS A MODERN DAY SURVIVAL SKILL "
- Leigh Montgomery, Librarian at the Christian Science Monitor
How do I know it's Fake News?
Ask yourself these questions:
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).
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
Here's a Comprehensive List of False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources
From Melissa “Mish” Zimdars, Assistant Professor of Communication, Merrimack College
Check the Facts on one of these Fact-Checking Websites
Washington Post’s Fact Checker
NPR Fact Check
Univision’s Detector de Mentiras (Lie Detector)
Global & Local Fact Checking Sites from Duke Reporters’ Lab
New York Times' Fact Checks of the 2016 Election
Hoax Slayer (email and internet hoax debunker)
Try this Fact-Checking Sites search engine, which searches most of the above nonpartisan fact-checking sites.
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.
For More Information, check out:
Fake News: How to identify and avoid fake news, by the Campus Library, Indiana University East
Blur: How to Know What's True in the Age if Information Overload, by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenthiel
Fact Checking, Verification and Fake News, a CUNY J-School Research Center LibGuide