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English: Past Issue: Fake News

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What is fake news?

The Internet is full of viral misinformation. Fake news is a false news story designed to look like credible information and makes it difficult to decipher fact from fiction. Fake news typically spreads fast online. How can we wade through it? Always reflect on how you encountered the story. Was it promoted on a website? Did it show up in a social media feed? Was it sent to you by someone you know? Trace the story to its original source.

Put it to the CRAAP Test:

Currency — Can you find a date of the article or photograph? When was it last updated?

Relevance — Who is the intended audience? How does the source meet your needs?

Accuracy — Is the information supported by evidence? Does it cite other sources?

Authority — Who is the author? What are their credentials?

Purpose — Does the site give facts or opinions? Does it have a clear bias?


  1. Consider the source. Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info.
  2. Read past the headline. Headlines can be outrageous in effort to get clicks. Go beyond headlines.
  3. Assess the credibility of the author. Do a quick Google search on the author. What is their expertise? What organization do they represent?
  4. Look at the links and sources supporting the article. Click those links. Determine if the subsequent information supports the story. Consider the reliability of the sources.
  5. Check the date.
  6. Consider that the item might be satire. If it seems too outlandish, it might be satire. Do some quick research on the site and author to find out.
  7. Consider that it might be promotional. Is the purpose of the site to sell a product?
  8. Check your biases.
  9. Search other news outlets to see if the news is widely reported.

Videos about Fake News

Massachusetts professor, Melissa Zimbdar’s list of false and misleading news sites has gone viral.

Duration: 1:26

Dive into the phenomenon known as circular reporting and how it contributes to the spread of false news and misinformation.

Duration: 3:41

Duration: 3:22

A quick BTN Article on how to recognise fake news articles online and why it is an issue.

Production Year: 2016

Duration: 4:20

An activist opposing the Maules Creek mining project sent out a fake press release announcing that funding had been pulled from the project, and wiped out millions of dollars off the mining company’s value. This cross-curricular news clip explains the challenges of balancing environmental and economic criteria in the use of natural resources, how companies’ share price depends on investor confidence, and how checking and referencing your sources is a crucial practice when producing media texts.

Production Year: 2015

Duration: 15:27

Macedonian Fake News

Did you know that a lot of the fake news that was reported during the 2016 US election between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump was generated by the small town of Veles in Macedonia? Watch the video and click on the links below to learn more.

Lowther Hall on fake news - in the news

The false Donald Trump quote that became a famous ''fake news'' meme.

Useful Links & Resources

How well can you spot fake news? Try these quizzes!

Fake News in History

An illustration produced for a later edition of the New York Sun’s “Great Astronomical Discoveries”. Illustration: Wikimedia

Did you know fake news isn't just limited to articles?

It could be a video, such as this one shown below. It appears to show an eagle grabbing a small child in its talons and flying away. Some media outlets initially reported on the video as fact. It was, in fact, created by three Montreal animation students in 2012 as a class project. But because some media outlets fell for the hoax, it became a fake news story.