How to Spot Fake News

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How to Spot Fake News

How to Spot Fake News

Poster created by IFLA: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.

Consider the Source

Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission, and its contact info.

Read Beyond

Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What's the whole story?

Check the Author

Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they real?

Supporting Sources?

Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story.

Check the Date

Reposting of old news doesn't mean they're relevant to current events.

Is it a Joke?

If it is too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure.

Check Your Biases

Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgment.

Ask the Experts

Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site.

Quality News vs. Fake News

Quality News
The author:

  • is accurately identified
  • holds relevant credentials and experience
  • acknowledges and manages biases and conflicts of interest

The publisher (site, show, publication, etc.):

  • is accurately identified
  • has a posted editorial or journalistic standards policy
  • clearly labels corrections and other content changes
  • acknowledges and manages biases and conflicts of interest
  • discloses funding sources

The information is:

  • obtained from identified, independent, authoritative sources
  • current
  • fact-checked
  • verifiable elsewhere

Fake News
The author:

  • is difficult to identify
  • lacks relevant credentials or experience
  • conceals biases and conflicts of interest

The publisher (site, show, publication, etc.):

  • is difficult to identify
  • lacks clearly stated editorial or journalistic standards policy
  • doesn't post corrections or disclose content changes
  • conceals biases and conflicts of interest
  • hides funding sources

The information is:

  • obtained from:
    • unidentified sources
    • sources lacking expertise or experience
    • sources with bias or conflict of interest
  • outdated
  • inaccurate, misleading, fabricated
  • not verifiable elsewhere

Fact-Checking Sites

  • Snopes.com is "the internet’s definitive fact-checking resource."
  • Factcheck.org is "a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics."
  • Politifact is "a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others on its Truth-O-Meter."
  • Climate Feedback is "a worldwide network of scientists sorting fact from fiction in climate change media coverage."
  • SciCheck from FactCheck.org "focuses exclusively on false and misleading scientific claims that are made by partisans to influence public policy."