Fake news: written by Alyson Fleming

desk with laptop, mug, and person typing

There is so much information floating around about COVID-19 that it can sometimes be hard to know what to believe! With all news channels and social media apps spreading different information, it is becoming increasingly important to understand how to identify credible sources, evidence-based facts and authors you can trust.

Try taking this fun quiz to see how well you can spot Fake News!:) 

So, what is Fake News? Fake News is pieces of information or entire articles that are heavily biased, that share deliberate misinformation, or who use ‘clickbait’ and flashy titles to distract readers from credible sources. Fake News stories are shared rapidly on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter because their misleading headlines are meant to attract our attention, worry readers and promote sponsored products and content.

The Toronto Public Library has posted an amazing webpage identifying a few key ways you can spot Fake News on your social media timelines. Here’s a short summary:

  1. Who wrote it? What are their qualifications?
  2. What is the content of the article? Is it heavily biased in one direction?
  3. When was it published? What information was available at the time of posting?
  4. Where was this information found? A news outlet or a personal ‘news’ blog?
  5. What is the purpose of this article?

Source: https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/spotfakenews/

Before sharing an article or believing a single source, be sure to fully read the article and make an informed decision as to whether the piece is credible or whether it aims to spread misinformation. Be sure to check whether the content includes references to other resources or whether the author is trying to persuade you to believe misrepresented facts or doctored graphs.

If you come across an article, meme, or post you believe spreads deliberate misinformation on a social media platform, report it! Nearly all social media apps now have features to report Fake News and will take down posts that go against their guidelines. While we can’t rely on Facebook to weed out all wrong information, we can each do our small part to fully read and look into articles and posts before sharing!

In an attempt to help us all find credible sources and information, the library has compiled a list of helpful links, resources and news outlets.

Happy researching, Warriors!