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Fake News

A guide providing information on how to spot fake news, how to find reliable news sources, and where to search for scholarly information about fake news.

What is Fake News?

What is Fake News?

This guide is designed to assist students interested in learning about fake news. In this guide, you will find resources that will assist you in finding and evaluating various news sources, as well as tips and resources for conducting research on fake news itself.

Over the last few years, discussion about the concept of fake news has increased in several areas, including in the media and in education settings. The concept of fake news is not new, but social media and the internet have greatly changed how and where people get their information.

What do we mean when we use the term "fake news"? The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines fake news as:

“false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke."

Further information about fake news and its history can be found in the following articles:

Types of Fake News

There are many types of fake news. Some are published with the intention to deceive; others are published to be entertaining, but may have the effect of deceiving individuals.

First Draft News, an organization based out of Harvard University whose mission includes fighting online mis- and disinformation, has grouped fake news into the following seven categories:

  1. Satire or Parody: No intention to cause harm, but has potential to fool
  2. Misleading Content: Misleading use of information to frame an issues or individual
  3. Imposter Content: When genuine sources are impersonated
  4. Fabricated Content: New content is 100% false, designed to deceive and do harm
  5. False Connection: When headlines, visuals, or captions do not support the content
  6. False Content: When genuine content is shared with false contextual information
  7. Manipulated Content: When genuine information or imagery is manipulated to deceive


How Fake News Can Spread