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Real News/Fake News: About Fake News

Finding Real News/Detecting Fake News

What is Fake News


Wikipedia defines fake news as:  “Fake news is a type of hoax or deliberate spread of misinformation in social media or traditional news media with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically.”  

Fake news websites ... deliberately publish hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation — using social media to drive web traffic and amplify their effect.”

Fake news takes all forms - print, online, podcasts, YouTube videos, radio shows, images - any format that can convey information can convey disinformation.

Fake News is a Real Problem

Lists of Fake News Sites

Watch out for these other types of websites

These types of web pages may be legitimate but they should not be mistaken for impartial news sources:

Opinion pieces/editorials - these may be  written by journalists or experts, but they should be clearly marked as opinion pieces and not mistaken for an impartial news report.

Parody/satire sites, including The Onion and the New Yorker's Borowitz Report; their purpose is to entertain and perhaps to persuade, but they should not be mistaken for news sources.

Native advertising or "sponsored content" - their purpose is to sell, not to inform.  Wikipedia defines native advertising as "a type of advertising, mostly online, that matches the form and function of the platform upon which it appears. In many cases, it manifests as either an article or video, produced by an advertiser with the specific intent to promote a product, while matching the form and style which would otherwise be seen in the work of the platform's editorial staff."  See some examples here.

Press releases - public relations pieces from a company or organization; they often are marked "For immediate release."

Publications by advocacy organizations or think tanks:  organizations such as The Sierra Club,, the National Rifle Association, can produce useful materials but they should be understood to represent a particular point of view.  It would be wise to seek other viewpoints for a more balanced understanding of the issues.

Real News Articles about Fake News

Creation/Spread of Fake News

Free Speech Will Save Democracy:  The First Amendment in the Age of Disinformation. October 13, 2020

How the Internet is Loosening Our Grip on the Truth  New York Times November 2, 2016

How Fake News Goes Viral:  A Case Study   New York Times  November 20, 2016

Facebook fake news writer:  'I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me'  Washington Post November 17, 2016

We Tracked Down a Fake-News Creator In the Suburbs.  Here's What We Learned.  NPR November 23, 2016

When Fake News Stories Make Real News Headlines  ABC News November 29, 2016

The city getting rich from fake news. BBC News December 5, 2016

Fake news, real violence:  'Pizzagate' and the consequences of an Internet echo chamber  CNN  December 6, 2016

From Headline to Photograph, a  Fake News Masterpiece  New York Times  January 18, 2017

To Battle Fake News, Ukrainian Show Features Nothing but Lies  New York Times  February 26, 2017


Effect of Fake News on Readers

Students Have "Dismaying' Inability To Tell Fake News from Real, Study Finds  NPR November 23, 2016

Liberals Believe Fake News Too Slate November 29, 2016

The very real consequences of fake news stories and why your brain can't ignore them  PBS December 5, 2016

As Fake News Spreads Lies, More Readers Shrug at the Truth  New York Times  December 6, 2016

Most Americans Who See Fake News Believe It, New Survey Says  BuzzFeed News December 6, 2016

Many Americans Believe Fake News is Sowing Confusion  Pew Research Center December 15, 2016

Do state’s voters trust the news UC Berkeley News Center (Institute of Governmental Studies poll) April 6, 2017


Proposed Solutions (see also "Detecting Fake News" tab)

Media Manipulation Casebook

Google and Facebook Take Aim at Fake News Sites New York Times November 14, 2016

How to Stop the Spread of Fake News  New York Times November 22, 2016  (opinion pages)

Misinformation on social media:  Can technology save us?  The Conversation  November 27, 2016 (opinion piece)

How Data and Information Literacy Could End Fake News  Forbes December 11, 2016 (opinion piece)

Finder's Guide to Facts   NPR December 11, 2016

How to Escape Your Political Bubble for a Clearer View    New York Times March 3, 2017