Fake News: What is and isn’t it?


The rise of “fake news” and the proliferation of doctored narratives that are spread by humans and bots online are challenging publishers and platforms. Those trying to stop the spread of false information are working to design technical and human systems that can weed it out and minimize the ways in which bots and other schemes spread lies.

– Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie The Future of Truth and Misinformation Online

The term fake news has become ubiquitous in the digital media landscape. But what exactly is fake news or disinformation? How does it differ from content that is biased, sensationalised, satirical or just plain wrong? The following sources help to provide a working definition of fake news.

IFLA Infographic: How to spot fake news?

This infographic compiled by IFLA (the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) – the leading international body for library and information services lists eight simple steps to help identify fake news.


Factcheck.org: How to Spot Fake News

In an effort to reduce deception and confusion in American politics Flackcheck.org a companion site of FactCheck.org (a non-partisan website) compiled this video that outlines some of the key characteristics of fake news. Flackcheck.org creates educational resources like video content as part of a political literacy campaign to assist readers to recognise disinformation in the American media.


ABC Interactive Quiz: Real, LOLZ, Oops or Fake?

As part of media literacy week dedicated to improving digital and media literacy the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) has created this quiz to test readers knowledge of fake news or disinformation and how it differs from misinformation – that is erroneous information that is accidentally incorrect.

BBC Academy Podcast: The Truth About Fake News

This podcast by the British Broadcasting Commission’s (BBC) media editor Amol Rajan provides an overview of fake news, the role of fact-checking and ‘debunking’ units and how writers should deal with ‘alternative facts’.

Truth, Truthiness, Triangulation: A News Literacy Toolkit for a “Post-truth” world

This article by Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information Joyce Valenza published in the School Library Journal provides a comprehensive explanation of fake news and its detrimental impact on readers’ information literacy. Valenza provides a series of tips for evaluating sources that could be of use when creating digital content.




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