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Fake News

Acknowledgement

Thanks to KT Lowe, librarian at Indiana University East, for creating the original guide of which this one is based.

 

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Please feel free to share this guide with others.  If you are a librarian, you are welcome to use this guide and its contents for your own purposes.

Help! My News is Fake!

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Did your mother call to 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.

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

Types of Fake News

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 accurate.

Spotting Fake News

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Need help in spotting fake news?

Contact a BCC librarian by e-mail --  ask@berkeleycitycollege.libanswers.com

OR

Chat with a Librarian using the green "Ask Us" tab on the right side of this page.

Fact-Checking: The Facts