One tweet is real, the other a fabrication. Can you tell which is which?
Did your mother call you to tell you that liberals hate science? Did your Facebook feed pop up with an article on a new pesticide that's going to kill us all? Did one of your friends tell you that President Trump was going to pardon mass shooter Dylann Roof? You might have heard any or all of these stories, but there's one thread connecting all of them: they're not true.
Fake news spans across all kinds of media - printed and online articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, radio shows, even still images. The ability to tell accurate news from fake news is an important skill that you'll use for the rest of your life. Let BU Librarians help you distinguish fact from fiction.
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.
Full disclosure - Much of this content is adapted from a research guide originated by KT Lowe, Coordinator of Library Instruction and Service Learning at Indiana University-East, and made freely available to educators through Creative Commons Thank you, KT.