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Evaluating News Sources

Spot fake news from real news with this guide.

How to spot fake news


What makes a news story fake?

Different Kinds of Fake News

Media Professor Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College has defined four broad categories of fake news:

1: Fake, false, or regularly misleading websites that are shared on Facebook and social media. Some rely on "outrage" by using distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information to generate likes, shares, and profits. 

2: Website that circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information, or present opinion pieces as news

3: Websites that use hyperbolic or clickbait-y headlines and/or social media descriptions, but may otherwise circulate reliable and/or verifiable information. 

4: Sources that are purposefully fake with the intent of satire/comedy, but have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news

No single topic falls under a single category. Some articles may fall under more than one category. Use the tips on this guide to determine if the information you see is reliable. 

Content Acknowledgments

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Content for this guide has been adapted from Indiana University East Campus Library, the College of San Mateo Library, Pace University Library, and Cornell University LibraryPermission for any part of this LibGuide to be used for any for-profit endeavors, including publication is not granted.