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How do I spot misinformation?

The creation of misinformation continues to generate a lot of discussion and it’s no surprise that post-truth is now in the Oxford English Dictionary (and was Word of the Year in 2016). 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 misinformation 

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

  1. Refer to the ‘About Us’ area on a website to see what it says. and then search online for more information on the story or source. This is referred to as "Lateral Reading" (link to video is 3:17 mins)
  2. Read multiple news sources to see how (or if) they are reporting on the same story.

Accessing credible news sources

Refer to U of T Libraries' 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 readings

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