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Read all about it! Fake News in the News: Home

Help! My News is Fake!

                                                                                         

Did your mother tell you that liberals hate science?  Did your Facebook feed pop up with an article on a new pesticide that's going to kill us all?  Did one of your friends breathlessly tell you that president-elect Donald Trump was going to pardon mass shooter Dylann Roof?  You might have heard any or all of these stories, but there's one thread connecting all of them: they're not true.

Fake news websites are websites that publish hoaxes, propaganda, or disinformation to increase web traffic through sharing on social media. Unlike news satire, where humor is the object, fake news websites seek to increase their traffic by knowingly circulating false stories. Fake news websites have promoted misleading or factually incorrect information concerning the politics of several countries including: Germany, Indonesia and the Philippines, Sweden, China, Myanmar, Italy, France, Brazil, Australia, India, and the United States. Many of the false news sites are hosted in Russia, Macedonia, Romania, and the U.S.  ( Wikipedia)  

The ability to tell accurate news from fake news is an important skill that you'll use for the rest of your life.  This LibGuide will give you valuable insight in telling fact from fiction online, plus a chance to exercise your newfound skills. 

How do you know?

Thanks to KT Lowe, Indiana University East Campus Library.

What kinds of fake news exist?

There are four broad categories of fake news, according to media professor Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College.

CATEGORY 1: Fake, false, or regularly misleading websites that are shared on Facebook and social media. Some of these websites may rely on “outrage” by using distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information in order to generate likes, shares, and profits.

CATEGORY 2: Websites that may circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information

CATEGORY 3: Websites which sometimes use clickbait-y headlines and social media descriptions

CATEGORY 4: Satire/comedy sites, which can offer important critical commentary on politics and society, but have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news

No single topic falls under a single category - for example, false or misleading medical news may be entirely fabricated (Category 1), may intentionally misinterpret facts or misrepresent data (Category 2), may be accurate or partially accurate but use an alarmist title to get your attention (Category 3) or may be a critique on modern medical practice (Category 4.)  Some articles fall under more than one category.  Assessing the quality of the content is crucial to understanding whether what you are viewing is true or not.   It is up to you to do the legwork to make sure your information is good.

Thanks to KT Lowe, Indiana University East Campus Library.

Permission to reuse

A generous thank you to Susan Bogas of The Bentley School for permission to adapt and reuse the information on this guide. ​

Post-truth

Oxford Dictionaries recently announced post-truth as its 2016 international Word of the Year. Oxford defines the word as relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

It is well worth noting that the concept is not new. Oxford traces post-truth’s history from a peripheral term simmering for at least a decade to its dramatic spike this year: in the context of the Brexit referendum in the UK and the presidential election in the US, and becoming associated overwhelmingly with a particular noun, in the phrase “post-truth politics.”

Back in 2005, Stephen Colbert introduced the Wordtruthiness, now defined by Wikipedia as a quality characterizing a “truth” that a person making an argument or assertion claims to know intuitively “from the gut” or because it “feels right” without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.

Fake News is a Real Problem

Infographic: Fake News Is A Real Problem | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista

How Fake News Goes Viral

This case study was published in The New York Times on November 11, 2016.