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Evaluating Information and Avoiding Fake News

Why should you care about whether or not your news is real or fake?
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Fake news can hurt you, and a lot of other people.  Purveyors of fake and misleading medical advice like Mercola.com and NaturalNews.com help perpetuate myths like HIV and AIDS aren't related, or misinformation stating that vaccines cause autism.  These sites are heavily visited and their lies are dangerous.
  4. 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.

Avoid Fake News (1) Check the source - is it a .com? .org? .edu or .gov? Is the source from a Google search or did you use an academic database? (2) Use the CRAAP Test - Currency, Relevance, Accuracy, Authority, and Purpose. (3) Check the claims in the article. Can you follup up with them using reputable sources? (4) Question everything. Does the site have ads? Is the source from a think take or nonprofit that has a stake in the subject of the article? What's the author's background? (5) Check any links in the article. Doe they actually lead to information that verifies something in the article?

New Stories and Reports on Fake News

Fact checking links

Known fake, parody, and misleading news sites

News outlet codes of ethics and standards

One of the ways in which a news source demonstrates its authenticity and responsibility to its readers is through a publicly accessible code of ethics or standards.  A sample of various codes, mission statements and ethics handbooks are listed below.

Other Resources

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

Creative Commons License

This guide came from several sources. "Fake News" was created by K. T. Lowe at Indiana University East under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This guide may be reused by teachers and librarians, but no part of this guide may be used for any for-profit endeavors, including publication. For more information, please email K. T. Lowe. "Evaluating Sources" was created by the Chifley Library at the Australian National University. The source for "Common Information Evaluation Tests" was: Reshaping Reference to Fit the Internet Culture. (2006, Summer). Created by Joe Barker for the Infopeople Project [infopeople.org], supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. Any use of this material should credit the author and funding source. http://www.infopeople.org/training/past/2006/reshaping/Hdt3eval_checklists.pdf.