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Winman Library: Fake News

Summer 2023

What is Fake News?

According to Berkeley Library, "Fake news websites (also referred to as hoax news) deliberately publish hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation, using social media to drive web traffic and amplify their effect. Unlike news satire, fake news websites seek to mislead, rather than entertain, readers for financial or other gain."

Misinformation vs. Disinformation

According to the American Psychological Association, “Misinformation is false or inaccurate information—getting the facts wrong. Disinformation is false information which is deliberately intended to mislead—intentionally making the misstating facts.”

IFL Fake News Infographic

How to spot fake news

Tips for Spotting Fake News

What is Fake News: Video

What is Circular Reporting

Who Starts Viral Information?

Why Should you Care about Fake News?

Benedictine Library offers these key ideas:

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.


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.


Fake news can hurt you, and other people. Fake and misleading information or advice help perpetuate lies. If decisions are based on lies, they can hurt you and others.  Can you think of examples?


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.

Fact-Checking Links

  • Politifact

    The Pulitzer Prize-winning Politifact researches the claims of politicians and checks their accuracy.


    One of the oldest debunking sites on the Internet, focuses on urban legends, news stories and memes. the also cite their sources at the end of each debunking.

  • The Washington Post Fact-Checker

    While focused primarily on political facts, it covers specific claims in-depth and with plenty of cross-referencing.

  • Veracity (iPhone app)

    Double check image sources and see where they came from.


How do you know it's Clickbait?  Here are some clues to look out for: 

  • Headlines. Any bold claims, such as "You won't believe what happened next," are red flags that a story is clickbait.
  • Weird GIFs. Animated images that illustrate something unusual and that lure you into investigating are usually invitations to scams.
  • Make-money-at-home schemes. Anything that promises you can make money by not lifting a finger is fraudulent.
  • Enticing photos. Scantily clad bodies, diseases, distorted images -- these are all clickbait and lead nowhere good.
  • Sales. Whatever you've shopped for recently often turns up in your social media feed or on your Google search results.
  • Contests and gimmicks. Slogans such as "Share this!" or "You've Won!" tend to lead to more clickbait -- and they may harbor malware.

Work on learning how not only to spot clickbait but to resist clicking on it.

  • Feelings before. Before you click, think about what the headline is asking you to do and why. Pausing that extra moment de-escalates the impulse to click.
  • Feelings after. OK, so you clicked. What did you see? How did you feel? Was it a waste? What could you have been doing if you hadn't gone down the rabbit hole?

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