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What's wrong with fake news?
Why should you care about whether or not your news is real or fake?
- 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 have every right to be insulted when you read fake news, because you are in essence being treated like an idiot.
- Fake news destroys your credibility. If your arguments are built on bad information, it will be much more difficult for people to believe you in the future.
- Fake news can hurt you, and a lot of other people. Purveyors of fake and misleading medical advice like Mercola.com and NaturalNews.com help perpetuate myths like HIV and AIDS aren't related, or that vaccines cause autism. These sites are heavily visited and their lies are dangerous.
- 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 as much good information on a candidate so you can vote for the person who best represents your ideas and beliefs. Fake news will not help you make money or make the world a better place, but real news can.
What can I do to avoid fake news?
Fake news in the news
ABCNews: When Fake News Makes Real News Headline
About a fake story which was treated as real news. Traces some of the pipeline for developing and distributing fake news
NPR: We Tracked Down a Fake-News Creator
About Jestin Coler, who began creating and distributing fake news in 2013.
The Atlantic: The Food Babe, Enemy of Chemicals
An examination of claims made by The Food Babe, with pointed analysis by professor Kevin Folta of the University of Florida
The New Yorker: The Operator
An examination into Dr. Mehmet Oz, who both performs open heart surgery and hosts a television show on medical matters.
New York Times: How Fake News Goes Viral
From a single Tweeter with 35 friends to being shared over 400,000 times through various forums, this article traces a Tweet made November 9th, 2016.
CNN: Fake News, Real Violence
"Pizzagate" was a fake news story which connected a pizzeria with a child pornography ring allegedly run by Hillary Clinton and John Podesta. On Sunday, December 3, 2016, an armed shooter entered the pizzeria and fired a shot before being accosted by the police.
NPR: How to Tell Real News from Fake News in 'Post-Truth' Era
This article discusses "post-truth", the idea that all news outlets will fail you eventually and it's impossible to know who to trust. It provides some commonsense advice on what to look for in a news outlet.
Global Challenges: Inoculating the Public against Misinformation about Climate Change
Covers a new theory about combating fake news known as "attitudinal inoculation" and follows two studies testing this method.
TED: How to tell fake news from real news
A brief selection of things to look for when determining the fakeness of news.
The Atlantic: The Rise of Progressive "Fake News"
This interview with Snopes editor Brooke Binkowski examines the emotional pull of fake news
BBC.com: How do Fake News Sites Make Money?
An investigation into how profitable fake news can be.
Fact checking links
A professional networking website where you can look up the authors of articles and books to see if they're credible.
A product of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, this site is terrific for checking up on political claims.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning Politifact researches the claims of politicians and checks their accuracy.
One of the oldest debunking sites on the Internet, Snopes.com focuses on urban legends, news stories and memes. the also cite their sources at the end of each debunking.
Similar to Snopes but tighter in scope, Hoax-Slayer focuses on email hoaxes, identity theft scams and spam.
The Washington Post Fact-Checker
While focused primarily on political facts, it covers specific claims in-depth and with plenty of cross-referencing.
Veracity (iPhone app)
Double check image sources and see where they came from.
Known fake, parodic and misleading news sites
The Daily Dot: Fake News Sites List
NOTE: This list is not exhaustive and may be updated at any time. A compiled list of fake news sites to watch out for.
List of Fake and Parody News
Professor Zimdars' original list and criteria, with updates and addenda.
One of America's premier parodic news sites.
The Borowitz Report
From humorist Andy Borowitz, a column parodizing and commenting on current news trends
Dr. Joseph Mercola
Mercola is a doctor of osteopathy who has frequently been targeted by the FDA for promoting false, misleading and even dangerous medical advice. His site promotes products and his blog includes false and/or misleading information about medical topics.
News outlet codes of ethics and standards
One of the ways in which a news source demonstrates its authenticity and responsibility to its readers is through a publicly accessible code of ethics or standards. A sample of various codes, mission statements and ethics handbooks are listed below.