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Hunter Library
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Western Carolina University

Is it Fake?: Home

Quiz: Is it Fake?

Fake News Can Be:

Hoaxes/Fabricated Stories Presented as News: This is what librarians would describe as fake news. These stories are unverifiable--meaning you can't confirm them in another reliable source, the sources often can't be confirmed, and the authors not qualified journalists or experts. Some sources combine verifiable facts with conspiracy theories, urban legends, and other rumors. The sites are often designed to make you think they are news sources. Examples: American Journal Review, Empire News, Info Wars, Newspunch, and NY Evening News.

Satire: Sites like The Onion or the Babylon Bee. Though articles are usually clearly satire, headlines can be misleading when shared out of context.

Manipulated images: This includes video and photographs that have been altered in order to misinform and other intentionally misleading memes and infographics.

Fake News is Not:

A minor mistake in regular reporting: Unless the intent is to mislead or satirize, mistakes aren't actually fake news. Every news organization makes mistakes. News is released at a breakneck pace, and mistakes are bound to happen. However, reputable news organizations correct their mistakes and publish corrections. See examples: New York Times Corrections Index and Reuters' policy on correcting mistakes

Regular reporting with which a public figure disagrees.

Verify before you share!

Fake News headlines are often designed to be misleading; they also often tap into existing ideologies, fears, and anxieties (especially related to the pandemic and politics). The following fact-checking resources can help investigate the context and creation of the source--and make your own decisions, including whether to share the post with others. You can verify most items by a quick Snopes check and/or Google search.


Or, develop your own list of trusted resources. The following are journalism awards that can point you to high-quality news sources: