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Avoiding Fake News

This guide defines fake news and discusses how to spot it. It also provides links to fact-checking websites.

What is fake news?

Fake news is not news you disagree with.

"Fake news" is "fabricated information that mimics news media content in form but not in organizational process or intent. Fake-news outlets, in turn, lack the news media's editorial norms and processes for ensuring the accuracy and credibility of information. Fake news overlaps with other information disorders, such as misinformation (false or misleading information) and disinformation (false information that is purposely spread to deceive people)" (Lazer et al. 2018).

Lazer, David M. J., et al. “The Science of Fake News.” Science, vol. 359, no. 6380, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Mar. 2018, pp. 1094–96,

What can you do about fake news?

  • Learn to recognize fake news disinformation. Be curious and actively investigate what you read and hear.
  • Use news sources that are accountable for their content and that follow journalistic ethics and standards.
  • Use care before sharing news content with others on social media. Pause and reflect on news and information that arouses strong emotions, positive or negative.
  • Learn to recognize your own biases and compensate for them.

Research & Learning Services, Olin Library, Cornell University Library. Fake News, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Learning to Critically Evaluate Media Sources: What Is Fake News?