What is fake news?

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, The issue of “fake news” has been, well, in the news a lot lately. To kick off 2017, one of our January displays at the library is about how to tell real from fake – a skill called information literacy or media literacy. Basically, how to assess the quality of information you encounter and be a savvy consumer of information.

What is fake news?

  • Fake news is misinformation, either intentionally or through lack of high quality, rigorous research and reporting.
  • Fake news may not be 100% fake; it may be a mixture of real and fake, or it may be heavily biased, giving an unbalanced view of an issue or topic.

How does it spread?

  • People click on it and share it on social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Reddit – often without even reading the whole article, just the headline. Headlines are often intentionally wild and unbelievable (a.k.a. “clickbait”).

How can you tell what is true?

  • Triangulate: Check multiple sources. Does this information appear in one place, or many places?
  • Investigate the source: Who is publishing the information? Is it an individual (e.g. someone’s blog) or an organization? If it’s an organization, what’s their mission statement? This will give you a clue about possible bias.
  • When was it written? Is it recent, or is it “recycled” from months or years ago?
  • Is it an ad or “sponsored content”?

Are you a critical reader who can tell real news from fake? Visit our display to learn more, and pick up a helpful handout. Stay tuned for another blog post soon featuring links to stories about the problem of fake news.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Databases and Research, Technology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What is fake news?

  1. Cris Martin says:

    Love that you’re talking about this!

  2. Pingback: Libraries in a Post-Truth World: The Conversation Continues – Jenny Arch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s