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Fake News: The Facts: Home

How to guard against fake news

Source: Indiana University East, Fake News LibGuide

Image via Vanessa Otero http://www.allgeneralizationsarefalse.com/; Creative Commons. 

Types of Fake News

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.  It is up to you to do the legwork to make sure your information is good.

Where to Fact Check

All Sides Bias Ratings

Provides readers a sense of the political leanings of the source

FactCheck

A product of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, this site is terrific for checking up on political claims.

Politifact

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Politifact researches the claims of politicians and checks their accuracy.

Snopes.com

One of the oldest debunking sites on the Internet, Snopes.com focuses on urban legends, news stories and memes. They also cite their sources at the end of each debunking. 

Opensecrets.org

A nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, the Center for Responsive Politics is the nation's premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy.