Critical thinking is a key skill in media and information literacy, and teaching people how to be better consumers of information is a fundamental task at the heart of the library profession.
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Want help spotting fake news?
Follow these eight simple steps to discover the verifiability of a news piece:
- 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.
- New! Deepfakes and national security: This Congressional Research Service article talk about what deepfakes are, how to spot them, and how government bodies are trying to combat ones that may interfere with national security.
- American Press Institute: Six questions that will tell you what media to trust »
- PolitiFact: Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website
- Factcheck.org: A project from the Annenberg Public Policy Center
- Snopes.com: The long-standing debunking website