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Fake News

The creation and distribution of fake and misleading news has proliferated, and has had a profound impact on recent events. Much of the impetus has stemmed from increasingly partisan politics or from the decreasing civility of public discourse, though the creation and distribution of inaccurate or biased news is certainly nothing novel. It is imperative, however, that we recognize and repudiate such misinformation.

Familiarize yourself with the problem itself, and learn how you can make informed judgements about the information you come across.

How Can We Learn to Reject Fake News in the Digital World?

This news article from The Conversation provides an overview of issues involved in fake news. The piece argues that metaliterate individuals, who are aware of four critical domains of learning, are better equipped to determine when to question sources of information. Perhaps surprisingly, being aware of how you feel about a piece of news is particularly important. A second piece in The Conversation highlights why we fall for fake news.

Finding the Fake-News King

This National Public Radio podcast tells the story of a mogul of fake news in the suburbs of Los Angeles and why he does what he does. Follow the hunt for the creator of a news story entitled “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide.” Listen to the interview and consider the goals he espouses. And what about the money he earns?

Google Reverse Image Search: Quick Guide

Fake information doesn’t just take the form of text. In this very short video, learn one way to check the accuracy of claims about images.


This project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center is a reliable source of information when trying to determine if assertions in the news are factual or not. This source was mentioned frequently in connection with the 2016 US presidential election. You are able to send in news to be checked if you don’t see it on the site. They have a companion political literacy site, FlackCheck.org, to help determine the credibility of political and general ads.

Other useful sites for fact checking include: Politifact | Snopes

How to Spot Fake News

This article from FactCheck.org suggests that fake news is better considered as part of a larger phenomenon, bad news. News stories might only be partially fabricated, or might be unresearched, deliberately misleading, or satire. Read this piece to learn the questions to ask and to find linked resources such as a list of known fake news websites.

Fake and Misleading News Quizzes

If you’d like to test your ability to spot problem news, try your hand at one of these quizzes. Note that all except the New York Times quiz are from late 2016.

Can You Spot the Fake Stories? (BBC) | Can You Pick the Fake News Headline? (Australian Broadcast Company)

And if you’d like to test your knowledge of accurate news, test yourself here.

Weekly News Quiz (The New York Times) | A Super-Size News Quiz (The Washington Post)

Evaluating Information Guide

Developed by librarians at Johns Hopkins University, this guide provides both practical advice on evaluating sources and a selection of case studies to help to distinguish accurate information from propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation.

Additional Related Resources from the University at Albany Libraries

Determining Credibility Playlist | Informed Consumer Quest

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