How do I spot fake news?

The creation of fake news has generated a lot of discussion in 2016 — it’s no surprise that post-truth is Oxford English Dictionary’s Word of the Year. Although many news sources have some inherent bias or political leaning, there are news outlets that are more credible than others.

Verifying news stories (or sites you should get to know)

  1. FactCheck.org: monitors the accuracy of U.S. political stories.
  2. PolitiFact: verifies political news stories.
  3. Snopes: fact-checks Internet rumours and stories. This will determine whether that post your cousin shared on Facebook re: gun violence in America has any merit.

Spotting a fake news story

(adapted from Professor Zimdars’ ‘False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources’. Refer to Professor Zimdars’ site for a more extensive list).

  1. Check the domain name. Does it look strange? Those ending unusual domains such as “.com.co” are fake news.
  2. Refer to the ‘About Us’ area on a website to see what it says, or refer to the websites above for more information on the story or source.
  3. Read multiple news sources to see how (or if) they are reporting on the same story.

Accessing credible news sources

Refer to the Current and Historical Newspapers guide that provides paywall-free (=free!) access to many national and international newspapers through library databases.

Infographic on how to spot fake news
(Source image: IFLA

Further reading

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