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Fake News

Fake news has always been out there, but in today's interconnected world it is flourishing and has become even more difficult to detect. Here you can learn tips and tricks on how to recognize fake news and misinformation on the Internet.

What is "Fake News"?

Fake news stories and misinformation initiatives are mostly created to increase web and social media traffic for the purposes of generating revenue, advancing an agenda, or amusing readers.

Characteristics of fake news story

  • It can’t be verified
  • Fake news appeals to the emotions
  • Authors usually aren’t experts
  • It can’t be found anywhere else
  • Fake news comes from fake sites (source)

How to Spot Fake News

(From the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions)

How to spot fake news

Search Tips

"Is Your News Fake or Fact?"

Test Yourself

"Which Face is Real?" 

"Can You Spot the Deceptive Facebook Post?"

"Can You Spot the Fake News Story?"

Fake News Fighters

  • Feedspot - Top 50 Fake News Websites and Blogs on the Web – refreshed weekly
  • Allsides - media bias ratings provide balanced news, perspectives and issues across the political spectrum; helpful Media Bias Chart and Dictionary, and respectful conversation models
  • FactCheck.org – celebrating 15 years of holding politicians accountable; current and archived articles you can check, can also directly ask a question
  • PolitiFact - fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others on its Truth-O-Meter, “Pants on Fire” stories
  • Snopes - started in 1994 to investigate urban legends, hoaxes, and folklore; skillful analysis of news stories
  • Our.News - Social news network that aggregates content and uses crowdsourcing to collect reader agreement with and trust in the facts of any news story
  • AP Fact Check and Not Real News That Happened This Week – Associated Press is doing its own fact checking

What is "Deepfake"?

Deepfake refers to the practice of creating a video or audio segment that makes a person appear to be verbalizing or doing something different than what they are actually saying or doing. 

“The goal is to create digital video and audio that appears ‘real.’ A picture used to be worth a thousand words – and a video worth a million – but deepfake technology means that ‘seeing’ is no longer ‘believing.’” (source)

As of June 2020, Sensity (formerly Deeptrace) identified 49,081 deepfake videos, an increase of more than 330% since July 2019.

How to spot Deepfakes

Five ways to spot a Deepfake from Techerati

  • Note resolution and quality differences between facial components and the rest of the video
  • Watch for frames where the face is obscured or at a sharp angle
  • Be wary of inconsistently scaled faces
  • Keep an eye on inconsistent border features
  • Look out for inconsistent skin tones/”shimmering”

Look closely at the source of video. Where did it come from and what was the motivation for making it? Check other sources that you trust to see if the video has been widely shared.

Detect Fakes - The MIT Media Lab has developed the Detect Fakes website to enable you to practice and see the answers for yourself, instead of trying to explain the difference between altered videos and non-altered videos. The trick is to understand there are several artifacts you can look for as opposed to one “single tell-tale sign.”

Specific questions to ask are provided as you pay attention to the face, cheeks and forehead, glasses, facial hair and moles, blinking and size and color of the lips.