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What is Fake News?

Why is Fake News easy to believe?

  • a growing decline in trust of the media and government
  • people can now create content without editing and fact-checking that news organizations are required to follow
  • content is accumulated into a single “news” feed – mixing updated information identical-looking links to stories across the internet and social media which is shared
  • lower attention spans
  • fake news stories appeal to our emotions
  • fake news can be spread through internet bots or pop up ads

How bias connects to Fake News?

Bias refers to stereotypes and attitudes 

Individuals use implicit bias that affects understanding, actions, and decisions, unaware that information is being processed through bias. This bias affects social groups or cliques that consist of sharing perspectives, trusting family or people the person trusts, social media or other avenues that consist of the same beliefs, values or follows a hype or trend. 

Individuals use confirmation bias which allows the person to search, interpret, confirm information towards a specific belief or point of view. This is not an objective review of information as information can be misused to prove a point through incorrect confirmation. 

This can become automatically believed without fact-checking. 


Spotting Fake News

Identifiers of Fake News:

  • factually inaccurate
  • optimized for sharing
  • meant to obscure or distort with emotions; preying on prejudice or bias

What is not Fake News:

  • News Stories: This source is a written or recorded article or interview that informs the public about current events, concerns, or ideas. These are typically required to be fact checked before sharing with the public. These are not fake due to the inconvenience of beliefs or forms of denial.  
  • Satire: Satire uses humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize ideas politics, issues and more from factual information. The Onion is one example.
  • Errors or dislike: Reporting mistakes do happen. Those that present information can make honest mistakes. If one does not like the source or information, which is validated to be correct, it can not be considered fake news because it does not fit the audience Member(s) values or beliefs. 



How to Analyze a News Story: Guidelines for Reading Between the Lines

  • Compare headlines and story content
  • Identify politically-charged labels, adjectives, and verbs
  • Question the agenda of sources
  • Consider whether the placement of ideas and sources affects the story’s impact
  • How might the story change if told from another perspective
  • Compare photographs and photo captions to the news stories connected with them
  • Which perspective does data from polls and statistics seem to support

Media bias exists as no source is bias free. The writer is a human being with values and beliefs of their own. They do not create false news but may use facts that support their method of media to share information. There is more than one perspective. Using only facts to support their content may not provide a whole picture. 

Davis, J. (1990). Beyond the myth of objectivity. Media&Values, (50) Retrieved from



How to spot fake news:

The University of Akron Fake News Quiz

BBC Can you spot the Fake news Quiz

Check for the date, author, linked sources as fake news may not provide them

Check quotes you use online or in images before you use them. Verify who said what words

Check the images origin. Images can easily be used without permission under a new headline targeted towards the audience emotion to believe it is true

Who Created the website. The sites below can help identify who created the website. Not all will be listed.

Check the website address

  • -- the real ABC news website

  • -- the fake ABC news website

Personal sites

  • These can be written by anyone who has a belief and not qualified to write about a topic or verified information.
  • They can be blogs like Wordpress, Blogger, Wix, Weebly and more

Social media

  • Social media can use hashtags that are similar to real news sites. One example, a fake Ellen Degeneres facebook was created. Another example is the  BBC. BBC twitter username is: @BBCNews and tweets were being sent from a fake account called  @BBCNewsUKI . This almost matched and could easily fool the audience as people may scrutinize  the twitter handle.


Who is the author of the website

  • look at the about us and is the website clear about who is running the site and its purpose (satire, opinion, etc.)? 


This image taken from Thomspon Rivers University shared the author as Stormfront. Stormfront is a neo-nazi website. The link took the audience to another site. This webpage is no longer available online.

Verify images, information and more to see if they are real.  

What can you do?

  • Verify your sources
  • Use different search engines
  • Criticize your sources :Use the 'Evaluating tools' in this source by answering the questions
  • Diversify your research: Use various sources rather than filter out others you would not typically use.