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Evaluating False News and Misinformation

This Research Guide aims to discuss what False News is. It also shares tools and resources for evaluating False News.

What is False News?

False News is a type of journalism with the goal to deliberately misinform or spread hoaxes through print, broadcast, and social media. “False news” is not news you disagree with. There is an intent present to mislead for financial, political, or malicious gain. As the term "fake news" has become politicized, try not to use it in regards to misinformation.

The ability to tell accurate news from false news is an important skill that you'll use your entire life. This guide will give you valuable insight in telling fact from fiction online.

Why Should You Care About False News?

False news destroys your credibility. If your research uses made up or false information, you may fail a course or have your research rejected. If your arguments are built on bad information, people may not believe you in future conversations.

False news can hurt you, and a lot of other people. Purveyors of fake and misleading medical advice can perpetuate myths (like vaccines cause autism). These websites or blogs spread dangerous lies

Real news can benefit you. If you want to buy stock in a company, you want to read accurate articles about that company so you can invest wisely. If you are planning on voting in an election, you want to read valid and factual information on a candidate so you can vote for the person who best represents your ideas and beliefs.

You deserve the truth. You are smart enough to make up your own mind - as long as you have the real facts in front of you. You can learn to critically evaluate online resources to find the facts.

Vanessa Otero's Media Bias Chart

This chart is constantly updated, so check here for updates. It's good practice to:

  1. Consume media from a variety of sources, left AND right, but;
  2. Focus more on higher quality journalism and reporting, and avoid lower quality.