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Fake News and "Post-Truth": Resources for Citizens, Students and Educators: How to spot fake news

Resources to extend Post-Truth panel series discussion

Watch out for fake news

What is fake news?

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

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

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

3: Websites which sometimes use clickbait-y headlines

4: Satire/comedy sites
Have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news

See Zimdars' document and list of questionable news sites:

False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources by Melissa Zimdars

Wikipedia's list of fake news websites

Listen to an interview with Melissa Zimdars on the radio program "On the Media," including advice for evaluating news sites:

Transcript available

Fake news quiz

Fake News Quiz: Factitious

Test your ability to detect fake news. 

From American University's Journalism Leadership Transformation program

Short instructional videos

From Channel 4 News in the UK (2 minutes)

Facebook's efforts

Facebook is taking some steps to help stop the spread of fake news, including a way to report a post as a false news story.  Stories reported as false will be checked by fack-checkers.

Ideology and quality mapped

Media Bias Chart

Attorney Vanessa Otero created this chart placing news outlets along a continuum of fact vs. opinion and a continuum of partisan bias.  Click on the image below or scroll down for a larger version of this image.


How to spot fake news

Fact-checking help

Not sure if something is true?  Check it out! from the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania

Politifact from the Tampa Bay Times
"Fact-checking U.S. Politics"

Fact Checker from the Washington Post
"The Truth Behind the Rhetoric"

An independent website covering urban legends, Internet rumors, and other stories of questionable origin. Helpful for validating and debunking stories in popular culture.  Cites sources for decisions made, i.e., true, false or mixed.

How to Spot a Liar

TED Talk (18 minutes)

"On any given day we're lied to from 10 to 200 times, and the clues to detect those lie can be subtle and counter-intuitive. Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting, shows the manners and "hotspots" used by those trained to recognize deception — and she argues honesty is a value worth preserving."

Bots and Troll


Attorney Vanessa Otero created this chart placing news outlets along a continuum of fact vs. opinion and a continuum of partisan bias.