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Misinformation and Fake News

Are you curious what fake news is and how to identify it? This guide explores the problem of misinformation and provides strategies for checking facts.

Double-Check Your Facts

What is News Literacy?

People who are news literate:

  • are more successful in judging the reliability and credibility of news content
  • can better handle information overload
  • can recognize the difference between news and opinion
  • understand why news matters and what role news plays in our societies

If having these skills is important to you, explore this guide to improve your news literacy!

What is Fake News?

The phrase "fake news" has been used a lot lately, but it's not really clear what it means and why it matters. Below are just some of the definitions assigned to "fake news"

  • Authentic content moved to a misleading context
  • Imposter sources designed to look like reliable sources we already know
  • Clickbait
  • False information meant to stir outrage (often partisan)
  • News I don't like
  • Parody or satire
  • More?

With this many different definitions, it's no wonder that the idea of "fake news" is confusing. Despite the confusion, almost all of these sources of misleading information should be avoided. This guide will give you some strategies for doing that.

Why Should I Care?

Before we explore strategies for identifying misinformation, you'll want to examine why you want to do so. Fact checking is hard work, and it often means challenging your own beliefs or desires in the face of evidence. Here are some reasons to care about facts:

  • Fake news ruins your credibility. When you share poorly supported information, your own reputation suffers. It becomes more difficult for you to be taken seriously in an argument or when you're hoping to convince someone of something.
  • Fake news can hurt you and those you care about. Some misinformation has effects on decisions about health and other high stakes issues. This false information is dangerous.
  • Facts help you make better decisions. With information that matches reality, you can better anticipate the future, advocate for your own interests and values, and avoid being duped.