Fake News: Evaluating Sources

IFLA - How To Spot Fake News

The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) provides this infographic on spotting fake news.  

This infographic is based on the eight points developed by FactCheck.org in a November 2016 blog post.

False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and Satirical "News" Sources

This document is a catalog of sites that are known to provide false, misleading, exaggerated, or satirical news reports. It is provided by Melissa Zimdars, assistant professor of communication at Merrimack College in Massachusetts. (Click here to go directly to the Google Doc.) 

Channel 4 News

This video from BBC's Channel 4 News shows some quick and effective methods for fact-checking online news articles. 

Evaluating Information

This library handout is an evaluation tool to help determine the credibility of internet sources. Using this test, you can examine a web source's currency, reliability, authority, and purpose to learn if the information is trustworthy, biased, or fabricated. Download or print the Evaluating Information handout to use as a reference when doing web research.  

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is a psychological phenomenon in which humans tend to search for and favor information and interpretations that confirm preexisting beliefs while undervaluing information that confirms conflicting beliefs. In other words, when people would like for an idea or concept to be true, they give more consideration to information that confirms what they already want to be true. Shahram Heshmat, Ph.D. gives an explanation of confirmation bias at Psychology Today

When dealing with fake news, it is important to be aware of confirmation bias. Simply knowing that it exists can help you be more equitable in evaluating information that conflicts with previously held beliefs.  



"Imagine that you’re a barley farmer in Montana, and hot, dry summers are ruining your crop with increasing frequency. Climate change matters to you. And yet rural Montana is a conservative place, and the words 'climate change' are politically charged. Anyway, what can you personally do about it?

Here’s how one farmer, Erik Somerfeld, threads that needle, as described by the journalist Ari LeVaux: 'In the field, looking at his withering crop, Somerfeld was unequivocal about the cause of his damaged crop – ‘climate change’. But back at the bar, with his friends, his language changed. He dropped those taboo words in favour of ‘erratic weather’ and ‘drier, hotter summers’ – a not-uncommon conversational tactic in farm country these days.' 

...It’s far easier to lead ourselves astray when the practical consequences of being wrong are small or non-existent, while the social consequences of being 'wrong' are severe.

- Tim Harford, "Facts v Feelings: How to Stop Our Emotions Misleading Us," The Guardian 

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