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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 was Oxford English Dictionary’s 2016 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 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. Check the domain name. Does it look strange? Those ending in unusual domains such as “.com.co” are questionable sources.
  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 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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