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Fact Checking, Verification & Fake News: Fake News Checklists

Breaking News Consumer Handbook: Fake News Edition

Mis- & Dis- Information

E.S.C.A.P.E Junk News

E.S.C.A.P.E. Junk News from Newseum acronym to help students remember six key concepts for evaluating information.

10 Questions for Fake News Detection

Fake News Detection Checklist

Newmark 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 if 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.

How to Spot Fake News