Fake News & Misinformation: How to Spot and Verify
Fake News & Misinformation: How to Spot and Verify
Use this guide to help develop your critical thinking skills to become a wise consumer and producer of information. Learn how to make informed judgments.
Fake news refers to deliberate untruths, or stories that contain some truth but which aren’t completely accurate, by accident or design.
Some people also claim that truthful stories are “fake news,” just because they don’t agree with them. This can lead to the dangerous ignoring of vital advice.
Fake news can have a negative impact on workplace behavior. For example, by damaging learning culture, and causing rumor and mistrust to spread. So, it’s vital to know how to separate the real from the fake. You can do this by following these six steps:
- Develop a critical mindset.
- Check the source.
- See who else is reporting the story.
- Examine the evidence.
- Don’t take images at face value.
- Check that it “sounds right.
- “Fake News”, Disinformation, and Propaganda, Harvard LibraryProvides accessible text versions of infographics
- Fact Checking, Verification & Fake NewsThis excellent guide was developed by librarians at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism Research Center.
- False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and Satirical “News” Sources© 2016 by Melissa Zimdars, assistant professor of communication & media. Created this resource as a tool for teaching students about journalism/social media/media literacy.more…
- How to recognize false content online — the new 5 Ws Tip Sheet, Media SmartsThis is a .pdf handout.
- How to Spot Fake NewsBy Eugene Kiely and Lori Robe on FactCheck.org® a project of The Annenberg Public Policy Centerrtson, Posted on November 18, 2016.
- Letters to a Young Librarian, Information Literacy as LiberationBlog. Tim Dickinson December 5, 2016
“Fake news” is lazy language.
Be specific. Do you mean:
C) Conspiracy theory
Look at information sources using the 5 Ws.
Infographic: How to Spot Fake News
The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) created the “How to Spot Fake News” infographic that identifies eight simple steps. The infographic is based on a 2016 article and video by FactCheck.org on how to discover the verifiability of “news” that captures your attention. Links to the article and video appear under the infographic.
Question the Authenticity of Images & Videos
- Want to resist the post-truth age? Learn to analyze photos like an expert wouldArticle from Quartz, a global journalism website.
- Seeing Isn’t BelievingThe Fact Checker’s guide to manipulated video, from the Washington Post.
- The Gallery of Fake Viral ImagesMuseum of Hoaxes. “When an image “goes viral” it means that something about the image is compelling, intriguing, or bizarre, which inspires numerous people to share it with others. Sometimes these images are humorous. Sometimes they’re shocking. But it’s relatively common for them to also be fake because hoaxers purposefully try to create dramatic, attention-grabbing scenes that people will want to share. They do this by changing or distorting an element within a photo, or by recaptioning ‘real’ images to make them tell a more interesting story.”
- Even smart people are shockingly bad at analyzing sources online. This might be an actual solution.By Laura Hazard Owen, Oct. 13, 2017. The Nieman Journalism Lab.
- Lateral Reading: Reading Less and Learning More When Evaluating Digital InformationStanford History Education Group Working Paper №2017-A1 — Citation:Wineburg, Sam and McGrew, Sarah, Lateral Reading: Reading Less and Learning More When Evaluating Digital Information (October 6, 2017). Stanford History Education Group Working Paper №2017-A1 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3048994
Common Errors and Frequent Causes
- numbers and statistics (mixing up “billions” & “millions”)
- names of people, titles, locations
- historical facts
- superlatives like “only,” “first” and “most”
Frequent Sources of Error
- working from memory
- making assumptions
- second-hand sources
Source: Writing and Editing for Digital Media, Brian Carroll, via Google Books
Where do I fact check?
- Go to the primary source when possible. Using secondary sources like other articles, blog comments and retweets can perpetuate errors.
- Use your library’s electronic and print resources.
- Search databases of news and journal articles, like LexisNexis or ScienceDirect, which aren’t accessible on the web, but are available as a library database
- Study this guide!
Practice: Apply evaluative criteria.
Read and evaluate the following web articles. Discuss what you conclude after reading the linked articles. Is there “truth” to the claim? If so, what is the evidence for your decision? If you do not think it is true or have questions about the authority and accuracy of the claim, what is the evidence for your decision?
CLAIM: “Human beings now have the attention span of a goldfish!”
- Official Media Bias Fact CheckThis Chrome extension is powered by the MediaBiasFactCheck database, and it not only alerts you when you are browsing a fake news site but will clue you into the political biases of legitimate sites as well. Accurate facts do not guarantee truth, after all; different presentations can leave you with very different ideas.
- Fake News Detector AI
- NewsCracker (Google Chrome extension)
- NewsCracker: How it works
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