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So what is fake news? Why does it exist and why is it so believable?
Fake news usually is created to mislead readers for specific purposes such as financial gain through web traffic or to persuade or further specific viewpoints. Because of this, it is important to think critically about all the information we read, hear, and see. Bias is often present in all news, but fake news can be especially biased toward specific viewpoints.
What can we do? Check the facts.
- Credentials or Authorship - Who has written/filmed/photographed this? Who are they? What do they know about the topic? And do you trust them?
- Bias - Is it trying to persuade you? Is it only representing one point of view?
- The Date - When was it written, published, filmed, released, etc.? Is there even a date?
- Sources - If it is making specific claims or citing facts can you tell where or who they are coming from?
Use these checklists to begin to separate fact from the fake.
If you're not sure, we're always here to help. You can always ask a librarian to help you verify facts.
Fact Checking Websites
These websites check the facts on popular news stories, political speeches, and promises made by politicians.
Independent organization that was developed by The Tampa Bay Times and is supported by this newspaper along with donations.
Part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center that independently monitors the accuracy of reporting.
Use the tutorials below to learn how to evaluate sources and spot bias in everyday news items.