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Fake News: Home

This guide provides the resources, both print and online, to distinguish facts from fake news. Browse the resources below or check with the Reference Librarian at your Delaware Public Library.

What Is Fake News?

Fake news is just as it sounds: news that is misleading and not based on fact or, simply put, fake.

Unlike satire news, which is often hosted by parody websites (think The Onion) and makes light humor of current events and people, fake news has the intention of disseminat­ing false information, not for comedy, but for consumption. - Alvarez, Barbara. "Public Libraries in the Age of Fake News." Public Libraries, Nov 2016: 24-7. Accessed 28 Feb. 2017.

Types of Fake News

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

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

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

CATEGORY 3: Websites which sometimes use clickbait-y headlines and social media descriptions

CATEGORY 4: Satire/comedy sites, which can offer important critical commentary on politics and society, but have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news

No single topic falls under a single category - for example, false or misleading medical news may be entirely fabricated (Category 1), may intentionally misinterpret facts or misrepresent data (Category 2), may be accurate or partially accurate but use an alarmist title to get your attention (Category 3) or may be a critique on modern medical practice (Category 4.)  Some articles fall under more than one category.  Assessing the quality of the content is crucial to understanding whether what you are viewing is true or not.   It is up to you to do the legwork to make sure your information is good.

Acknowledgement

Thanks to KT Lowe at Indiana University East for some of the content on this guide.