Critical thinking—and fighting fake news— are key skills in media and information literacy. Teaching people how to be better consumers of information is a fundamental task at the heart of the library profession. Have questions about something you heard or read? Ask us anything »
Is it true? Follow eight simple steps
- Consider the source: Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info.
- Read beyond: Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What’s the whole story?
- Check the author: Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they a real person?
- Supporting sources? Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story.
- Check the date: Reposting old news stories doesn’t mean they’re relevant to current events.
- Is it a joke? If it is too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure.
- Check your biases: Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgement.
- Ask the experts: Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site.
Because “this trick can help you spot scams, fake news, and people stealing your photos,” according to this CNet article.
From our library partners at RAILS, and specifically related to war in Eastern Europe: “Recent global events are already causing misinformation to be shared widely, such as images from past conflicts, some not even in the regions currently under attack.”
- Deepfakes and national security: This Congressional Research Service article talks about what deepfakes are, how to spot them, and how government bodies are trying to combat ones that may interfere with national security.
- PolitiFact: Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website
- Factcheck.org: A project from the Annenberg Public Policy Center
- Snopes.com: The long-standing debunking website