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Fake News: Home

Assessing Mis/Disinformation

Fake news websites intentionally publish propaganda, hoaxes, and misinformation by using social media to drive web traffic. These tips will help you ferret out the legitimate sources of information.

  1. Embrace skepticism: Slow down, examine information and ask questions about what you are reading.
  2. Compare different resources--are reputable sources reporting this story too?
  3. Find out who authored the articles. Investigate authors, their expertise, who they work for, and what their employers' biases may be. Do not use anonymous sources.
  4. Follow links and citations: If the story's links are broken or lead to unrelated sites, the information is likely fake.
  5. Make sure headlines, images, and stories match: If a story's headline or accompanying photo don't match, ask why?--the intent may be to deceive readers.
  6. Look for odd URLS: Fake news sites often use URL's that closely resemble those of respectable news sources.
  7. Fact check: refer to unbiased fact-checking sites such as Snopes and the others listed in the Fact Checker Sites box below.
  8. Read everything: Don't rely on just the headline to tell the entire story.
  9. Examine information before sharing it on social media or in academic work--don't be part of the problem.
  10. Check your biases: you probably will believe information that agrees with your world view. You must look at news with an unbiased mindset--even if it runs counter to your beliefs.

Information Disorder

A report published by Claire Wardle and Hossein Derakhshan, identifies three types of information falling under the umbrella of "Information Disorder". Misinformation is false information, malinformation is factual information that is spread with the intent to cause harm and disinformation is false information that is spread with malicious intent. There are seven types of Mis- and Dis- information listed here, from the lowest to the highest potential for harm:

  • Satire or parody
  • False connection--such as clickbait
  • Misleading content--using information to intentionally frame something in a biased manner
  • False context--e.g. using a photo and labeling it as taken at a different time or location
  • Imposter content--created to look like it came from someone else, often a well-known person or news organization
  • Manipulated content--e.g. photoshopped images or doctored videos
  • Fabricated content--completely false information shared with the intent to deceive and cause harm

Wardle, C., & Derakhshan, H. (2017). Information disorder: Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policy making. Council of Europe report, 27, 1-107.

Conspiracy Theory Resources

Videos/Tutorials

Fact Checking and Media Bias Resources

FactCheck.org
FactCheck.org is sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania--a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocate for citizens that aims to test honesty and integrity for voters in U.S. politics.

FlackCheck.org
FlackCheck.org is the political literacy companion to FactCheck.org. This site targets deceptive arguments in political ads.

Snopes
Snopes is the "definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation."

Politifact
Politifact is a  Pulitzer Prize winning site managed by the Tampa Bay Times Newspaper. "Politifact is a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics..." Their mission and principles are reported under "About Us".

Duke Reporters' Lab (Fact Checking)
Duke Reporters' Lab features a database of global fact-checking sites and how they identify the chosen sites.

MediaBiasFactCheck.com

Mediabiasfactcheck.com is a comprehensive fact checking database with rankings of 2100+ media sources.

AllSides Media Bias Chart

AllSides Media Bias Chart "offers an easy way to identify political bias in the news so you can be better equipped to navigate our polarized media landscape." Learn why media bias matters and how it creates "filter bubbles."

Ad Fontes Media Bias Chart

Ad Fontes Media Bias Chart rates news for bias and reliability using a rigorous methodology and a politically balanced team of analysts. The focus is on analyzing the news content of articles and shows.

Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics