A Short Guide to Fake News

You’ve probably heard the phrase “fake news” frequently over the past number of months, especially in relation to the ongoing media frenzy. But what is “fake news,” and why does it matter? Copley Library has put together this short and quick guide to outline the issue and provide you with some resources to help keep you informed.

What is Fake News?

According to Wikipedia, “fake news is a type of hoax or deliberate spread of misinformation.” Fake news can appear in the form of an article, site, or social media post that looks reliable but is either misrepresenting or completely fabricating information. Conspiracy theories, April Fools pranks, that Facebook post someone shared about how pizza leads to cancer— these are all examples of fake news that you’ve probably already encountered and are already comfortable vetting for misinformation. Fake news isn’t new, but that doesn’t make it less problematic. In order to make informed decisions, we must be able to identify the facts. So how can we tell the difference between fake news that looks exactly like real news apart from actual real news?  

Identifying Fake News

We have 3 tips to get you started:

  1. Check your sources.
  2. Verify credibility.
  3. Ask a librarian!

If these tips sound familiar, they should. They’re the same tips we give about effective research. Being able to write a good paper is no different from staying informed.

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) created a simple infographic with more specific tips to help you further.


Available Library Resources

Copley Library has numerous resources available that already provide credible information. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by fake news, spend some time in one of our databases:

New York Times (through Proquest)
Los Angeles Times (through Proquest)
CQ Press Library
LexisNexis Academic
Congressional Publications

Find a complete list of our news resources here and our government information resources here.


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