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Research Essentials: Fake News

Fake News

Fake News is Not News You Disagree With.

  • ‘‘Fake news’’ is information that has been deliberately fabricated and disseminated with the intention to deceive and mislead others into believing falsehoods or doubting verifiable facts; it is disinformation that is presented as, or is likely to be perceived as, news. (McGonagle, 2017)

It Can't be Verified.

  • A fake news article may or may not have links in it tracing its sources.  If it does, these links may lead to articles outside the site's domain or may not contain information pertinent to the article topic.

Fake News Appeals to Emotion.

  • Fake news plays on your feelings - it makes you angry, or happy, or scared.  This is to ensure you won't do anything as pesky as fact-checking.

Authors Usually Aren't Experts.

  • Most authors aren't even journalist but paid trolls.

It Can't Be Found Anywhere Else.

  • If you look up the main idea of a fake news article, you might not find any other news outlet (real or not) reporting on the issue.

Fake News Comes From Fake Sites.

  • Did your article come from Or Or  These and a host of other URLs are other fake news sites.

McGonagle, T. (2017). “Fake news”: False fears or real concerns? Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, 35(4), 203-209. doi:10.1177/0924051917738685

Why should you care about whether or not your news is real or fake?

  • You deserve the truth.  You are smart enough to make up your own mind - as long as you have the real facts in front of you.  You have every right to be insulted when you read fake news, because you are in essence being treated like an idiot.
  • Fake news destroys your credibility.  If your arguments are built on bad information, it will be much more difficult for people to believe you in the future.
  • Fake news can hurt you, and a lot of other people.  Purveyors of fake and misleading medical advice like and help perpetuate myths like HIV and AIDS aren't related, or that vaccines cause autism.  These sites are heavily visited and their lies are dangerous.
  • Real news can benefit you.  If you want to buy stock in a company, you want to read accurate articles about that company so you can invest wisely.  If you are planning on voting in an election, you want to read as much good information on a candidate so you can vote for the person who best represents your ideas and beliefs.  Fake news will not help you make money or make the world a better place, but real news can.

Courtesy:  Indiana University East

Fact Checking Sites

  • - Annenberg Public Policy Center’s nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.
  • Politifact - PolitiFact is a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics. PolitiFact is run by editors and reporters from the Tampa Bay Times, an independent newspaper in Florida.
  • Snopes - Since the 1990s, Snopes has been dispelling urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation.
  • SciCheck - Focuses exclusively on false and misleading scientific claims that are made by partisans to influence public policy.
  • All Sides - Provides multiple angles on the same story.

Image Checking Sites


Web History Checking Site

  • Wayback Machine - Web archive that captures websites over time and can be used to verify content history and edits.

Research Support

Need help finding articles or using the databases? The Libraries offer a wide range of research support.