The Internet makes it incredibly easy to spread false or misleading information. A healthy dose of skepticism is in order regarding anything you may read online. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions recommends these steps for spotting false or misleading news:
- Consider the source. Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info.
- Check the author. Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they real?
- Check the date. Reposting old news stories doesn’t mean they’re relevant to current events.
- Check your biases. Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgment.
- Read beyond. Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What’s the whole story?
- Supporting sources? Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story.
- Is is a joke? If it is too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure.
- Ask the experts. Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site, such as one of these:
Presents news stories on trending topics from sources identified as from the left, from the right, and from the center; provides bias ratings for hundreds of media outlets.
Debunks political claims and viral fake news.
Debunks trending hoaxes and false information.
Media Bias/Fact Check
Check the truthfulness and bias of any news source.
Non-partisan fact-checking site focusing on political claims made in the U.S., including statements from politicians and general political news.
One of the oldest fact-checking sites, focusing on news stories, urban legends and memes.
Long-running fact-checking site, focusing on “eRumors, fake news, disinformation, warnings, offers, requests for help, myths, hoaxes, virus warnings, and humorous or inspirational stories that are circulated by email”.