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Fact Checking, Verification & Fake News

Fake News Detection Checklist

CUNY J-School's Fake News Detection Checklist

Don’t be fooled by fake news, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who says?
    • Scrutinize the publication sharing the story, and the sources they are quoting. Are they even giving a source? Go to original source.
  • How do they know? What makes them an authoritative source?
    • Search the website’s “About” page.
    • Check the Center for Media & Democracy’s Sourcewatch.org page.
  • Is the source biased?  
    • Does the story only present one side of a debate?
    • Check mediamatters.org (debunks conservative media) and newsbusters.org (debunks liberal media).
  • Does this news turn up on any trusted sites?
    • Search fact-checking sites like Snopes.com to see of the claim has been proven or debunked.
    • Here’s a custom search engine of fact-checking sites, which you can search all at once: bit.ly/factchecksites-search
    • Search reliable news sources to see what they are reporting on the issue or topic. 
  • Do a Google search to see whether or how the news is being reported on legitimate journalism sites (but be wary of mistaking quantity for quality – fake news tends to proliferate).
  • Do a Google Scholar search to see what scholars and researchers say about this claim.
  • What don't I know?
    • Do other reliable sources challenge these facts?
    • What other facts are being left out?
  • Is this story making me upset or angry?
    • If so, it's probably designed to target your emotions and confirmation biases, and to bypass your intellect. Take a breath and verify before you share it.
  • Does the story sound too crazy or outlandish to be true?
  • Then don't believe it, unless you've checked it out first with other, reliable sources.

Ten Questions for Fake News Detection from The News Literacy Project's Checkology Virtual Classroom

7 Types of Mis- and Disinformation in the Information Echosystem from FirstDraft News

7 Types of Mis- and Disinformtion from First Draft News

Propaganda vs. Misinformation vs. Disinformation

How to Spot Fake news from Factcheck.org

Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Fake News Edition, from WNYC's On The Media