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Media Literacy: Spotting Fake News

How to Spot Fake News

File:How to Spot Fake News.jpg

How Can I Tell if it is Fake News?

With the recent growth of fake news and tactics such as splashy and exaggerated headlines and the growth of "click-bait" on sites, it is difficult to determine if your news site is credible.  It has become increasingly important to look very closely at your sources, analyze and evaluate the information that is there.   Use these points as a guide for evaluating your news and sources: 

  • Check the title and domain name.  Determine if it is from a personal blog site (ie .wordpress or .blogger) . Common news websites that end in ".com.co" are often fake versions of real news sources. 
  • Check the "About Us" tab on websites or look up the website to see if it appears on Snopes.com or another fact-checking site.  Try to find information about the source on a different news site, check for a Wikipedia page with valid sources or something similar to verify the intention/mission of the page. 
  • Check the writer.  Try to find information about the credentials/background of the writer. 
  • Look for a "Legal" or "Disclaimer" section.  Many satirical websites disclose information about their writers in these sections. 
  • Check for supporting sources and studies.  Check the source/study ... is it being accurately reflected and reported? 
  • Check the style of writing.  Does the website follow a style guide?  Does it use capital letters, strongly worded headlines? 
  • Check the design.  Many fake and questionable news sites will utilize very bad design such as cluttered screens, heavy-handed photoshopping etc). 

(Adapted from  "False, Misleading, clickbait-y, and/or Satirical "News" Sources" available at  https://docs.google.com/document/d/10eA5-mCZLSS4MQY5QGb5ewC3VAL6pLkT53V_81ZyitM/preview accessed November 15, 2017)