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Evaluating News: Evaluating News

This LibGuide provides resources to help you identify fake news and evaluate news and disinformation.

Evaluating News, Fake News, and Disinformation

Fake news has become the new buzz word. But what is it? A better term to use for fake news might be disinformation. According to Vocabulary.com, disinformation is "misinformation that is deliberately disseminated in order to influence or confuse."

Because fake news and disinformation is all around us, we need to be able to recognize it. But, how to know if something you are reading is true, fake, or biased? With the advent of the Information Age, it is becoming more difficult to decipher fact from fiction in articles and with images. You are now in charge of determining what information is reliable and what is not. You have to be aware while you are reading and viewing. Test your awareness as you watch this video.

Sometimes when we browse through headlines and social media posts we do not always look critically at the videos, images, and news stories. We look at them passively. We may not take into consideration the facts not mention in them or how an image may be altered. We must consider the writer's or creator's message or point of view. We need to be active and not passive consumers of information. That means questioning what we read and who is the source of the information. We also need to be aware of our confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is when we search for or interpret information that validates our own preconceptions. We do not actively search for information that challenges our preconceptions.

This survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center in December 2016, found that 64% of Americans adults say made-up news has caused a great deal of confusion about current events.  As a consumer of news information, you need to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports, whether you read it in print, see it on television, hear it on the radio, or find it on the internet.

Problems Caused by Fake News

Fake news:

  • is not information you disagree with
  • undermines real news
  • has consequences
  • hinders an informed citizenry
  • undermines your credibility if you share it
  • denies you the truth

Terms to Know

Crowd manipulation: deliberate use of psychological techniques to engage, control, or influence a crowd in order to direct its behavior toward a specific action.

Post-truth: information provided appeals to a person's emotions and prejudices over facts and logical arguments.

Filter bubble: search engines use algorithms to selectively assume the information a person would want to see, by looking at factors like location, "friends", past search history, and click behavior, in order to give the person information according to its assumption.

Social bot: a type of automated software bot that controls a social media account. It spreads information by convincing other users that the social bot is a real person. This includes generating messages advocating certain ideas and campaigns. A social bot may act as a  follower or even be a fake account that gathers followers itself.

Sockpuppet: an online identity used to promote someone or something for purposes of deception.

Social networking spam: spam directed specifically at users of internet social networking services.

Twitter bomb: a user creates multiple dummy accounts to send a large number of tweets in a short period of time in order to make his or her message a "trending topic".

Videos

What is Fake News

What is fake news?

These are false news stories which are designed to deceive readers. The stories provide information or images that look credible, but they cannot be verified without sources. Only satirical articles are meant to be humorous.

What are fake news websites?

These are websites that use intentionally deceptive and sensationalized information to fabricated stories. They want to influence readers or to make profits through text linked advertising. The more people that click on their stories, the more money they make. Fake news websites often use altered images to misrepresent a story.

Fake News Checklist

Articles

Books in the TRHS LMC

Library Media Specialist

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Deana Collins
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