While I'm sure no one would mistake the headline “Red Riding Hood and the Wolf Elope in Vegas While Grandma Scuba Dives in Bermuda” as real news, recent studies show people are having difficulty judging real news from fake because of the rapid rise of internet-based fake news sites.
This trend is especially true on social media, where sharing can spread a false news story faster than wildfire, sometimes with devastating or criminal effects. In fact, a recent Pew Research Center report discovered that 23 percent of Americans have shared a fake news story on social media. So what exactly is “fake news” and how can you spot it? Here are five articles for determining fact from fiction.
You can read these articles using CPL’s Online Resources, but I’ve also noted if an article is available freely on the web.
“Media Literacy vs. Bogus News” by Benjamin Herold
Education Week, December 14, 2016
Reporter Benjamin Herold reveals how false news about real civic issues is a serious threat to our democracy. He also relates the rising inability of students to gauge the reliability and trustworthiness of online information and what steps can solve this problem.
“5 Things to Know About Fake News on Facebook, Google” by Sharon Gaudin
PC World, November 22, 2016
Who's to blame? A PC World writer details the effects of fake news stories shared on Facebook as well as fake news hits in Google search results, and considers if either company should be responsible for providing a solution to the issue.
“Fake News Fooling Millions!” by Carl Stoffers
New York Times Upfront, January 9, 2017 (also available on the New York Times Upfront website)
Fake news might seem like a new trend, but Carl Stoffers explains that it’s actually just an updated version of yellow journalism. He explores the potential negative effect it may have on free speech and includes helpful tips for spotting fake news.
“The Fact Checker's Guide for Detecting Fake News” by Glenn Kessler
The Washington Post, November 22, 2016 (also available on the The Washington Post website)
Can fake news be stopped? Learn how to join the fight against the spread of false news. The article gives detailed steps to verify if an online news article is authentic.
“Indiana University Tech Tool 'Hoaxy' Shows How Fake News Spreads” by Gretel Kauffman
Christian Science Monitor, December 22, 2016 (also available on the Christian Science Monitor website)
Discover how a free tool called Hoaxy recently developed by university students enables the public to evaluate the authenticity of news articles by mapping the spread of the article online.