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Real vs. Fake News: How To Avoid Lies, Hoaxes, and Clickbait and Find the Truth: Home

This guide provides information about inaccurate, misleading, and satirical “news” sites, as well as links to reliable sources of news, and tools for evaluating the information you find online.

What is Fake News?

Cover of Science magazine with cover story "How Lies Spread: On Social Media, False News Beats The Truth"According to experts, "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)." [David M. J. Lazer, et al. "The Science of Fake News," Science, 9 Mar. 2018: vol. 359, no. 6380, pp. 1094-1096.]

"Fake news" has also become a buzzword for those who want to call attention to this biased or inaccurate information, as well as for those who use the accusation "that's fake news!" as a way to defend their own points of view, discredit other perspectives, or even deflect attention from their own disinformation.

How Do Search Engines and Social Media Sites Aid the Proliferation of Fake and Biased News?

Clickbait fuels the dissemination of fake news and filter bubbles (or "echo chambers") create a lack of variety in the information and ideas to which individuals are exposed.

What is Clickbait?

Merriam-Webster defines clickbait as "something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest."

What are Filter Bubbles?

A filter bubble or echo chamber is the result of website algorithms designed to determine which content you want to see and which you don't, based on your past behavior and other information about you. Over time, the web content you see represents an increasingly narrow range of information and ideas, and you are exposed to fewer and fewer experiences, ideologies, and perspectives that differ from yours. For more information about echo chambers and filter bubbles, watch this TED Talk by Eli Pariser:

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Ellen Carey
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Tutorial: Understanding Misinformation

The following video tutorial covers how to identify and analyze different types of misinformation, and provides some strategies for evaluating news sources and finding more reliable information on the internet (from off campus you will need to log in using your Pipeline username and password):