One of the things the Presidential Election Campaign of 2016 may be remembered for is the proliferation of fake news stories. Viral news hoaxes have been around for many years but since 2016 they exploded into the consciousness of the American public.
Did your mother call 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 breathlessly tell you that Donald 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. (Taken from Indiana East University Library)
Fake news websites are websites that publish hoaxes, propaganda, or disinformation to increase web traffic through sharing on social media. Unlike news satire, where humor is the object, fake news websites seek to increase their traffic by knowingly circulating false stories. Fake news websites have promoted misleading or factually incorrect information concerning the politics of several countries including: Germany, Indonesia and the Philippines, Sweden, China, Myanmar, Italy, France, Brazil, Australia, India, and the United States. Many of the false news sites are hosted in Russia, Macedonia, Romania, and the U.S. ( Definition taken from Wikipedia)
Evaluating information for its credibility and bias and being able to separate fact from fiction has never been more important and is a lifelong skill that is vital in helping you make informed decisions in your everyday life, both personally and professionally.
(List adapted from the Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Public Library's web page, Help! My News is Fake!)
There are four broad categories of news sources, according to media professor Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College.
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. It is up to you to critically evaluate your sources to determine if they are reliable or not.