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Introduction to Fake News

What is Fake News?

Fake News is false or inaccurate information that is presented as fact.

Fake News can be:

  • Stories, images or videos that have been completely made up to get people to believe something that is not true (false information)
  • Stories that have some truth to them, but are not totally accurate, possibly because the people writing them have not checked their facts or because they have exaggerated certain things (inaccurate information)

Why is Fake news a problem?

  • Fake news can spread quickly on the internet and social media
  • Fake news can make people believe things that are false or inaccurate
  • Believing fake news may make people act in a certain way. For example, it might influence the way they vote in elections
  • Some people may call something fake news, when actually it is not fake news, simply because they don’t like it or don’t want it to be true
  • Fake news can make people unsure what to believe
  • Fake news can make people distrust the media

How can I spot Fake news?

Ask yourself:

  • WHO published the story? Have you heard of the organisation that published the story? Are they legitimate and trustworthy?
  • WHAT is the story? Does it sound believable, could it really be true? Do the dates, facts and figures make sense? Do other sources support it?
  • WHERE did you see or hear the story? Was it on TV, in a newspaper, on the radio, on a website, on social media? If you found the story on a website, does the website look genuine? (Look out for strange URLS such as: Has the story been reported anywhere else? Have you heard of the other organisations that have reported it?
  • WHEN was it published? Is it an old story that has been reposted? Watch out for stories published on April 1st!
  • WHY was it published? Is it meant be a joke? Is it meant to promote a political agenda or set of ideas? Is it a sensational headline meant to lure you in?