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Fact Checking & Media Literacy: "Fake News"


Melissa “Mish” Zimdars, the  Assistant Professor of Communication Communication and Media at Merrimack College, maintains a list called False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources.  I recommend this source as one of the best places to go to look up a website's credibility as well as to gain tips for evaluating online media sources.

How to Spot Fake News Online

Image created by librarians at Indiana University East and shared under a CC-BY-NC-4.0 license  See their wonderful, full guide on fake news here.

What kinds of fake news exist?

There are four broad categories of fake news, according to media professor Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College.

CATEGORY 1: Fake, false, or regularly misleading websites that are shared on Facebook and social media. Some of these websites may rely on “outrage” by using distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information in order to generate likes, shares, and profits.

CATEGORY 2: Websites that may circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information

CATEGORY 3: Websites which sometimes use clickbait-y headlines and social media descriptions

CATEGORY 4: Satire/comedy sites, which can offer important critical commentary on politics and society, but have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news

No single topic falls under a single category - for example, false or misleading medical news may be entirely fabricated (Category 1), may intentionally misinterpret facts or misrepresent data (Category 2), may be accurate or partially accurate but use an alarmist title to get your attention (Category 3) or may be a critique on modern medical practice (Category 4.)  Some articles fall under more than one category.  Assessing the quality of the content is crucial to understanding whether what you are viewing is true or not.   It is up to you to do the legwork to make sure your information is good.

"What makes a news story fake?by is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

"What makes a news story fake?" by is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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