News can help shape our views, opinions and attitudes to events, so it’s really important you can trust what you read and be able to make your own judgements about events and stories covered in the media. Fake news is when someone creates a false story or account of an event or about a person.
The person who is being lied about may feel alone, helpless and targeted and worried that people will believe the fake news is true. Fake news is often used to create hatred or stir up hateful responses from people that see it and is hoped that they will believe the story as true and tell other people about it. An example of this is:
This post featured a video that has been shared lots of times and has often been used to stir up hatred towards Muslim communities. Often the image states that the people pictured are celebrating a recent terrorist attack. However, this image is in fact a picture of a group of people celebrating Pakistan winning the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 Cricket tournament.
When checking the reliability of information online, consider the following:
- Look for signs of Photoshopping/ altering of the original image.
- Do your research? See if you can find any information to support the information you are being told. Does the writer give sources for the information, are there ‘facts’ that you can check independently?
- Consider if the information has come from a reliable source. Can you trust them?
You may like to create your own poster of information to remind you of how to spot fake news. Why is it dangerous? What could you do if you see it?
Infographic produced by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
Check your facts!
Fact-checking sites are useful for finding out how trustworthy information is. www.fullfact.org is a UK-based, independent and trusted site for fact-checking. Google also offer a ‘reverse image search’ where you can upload an image and find out how it has been used before on the web and elsewhere.
Below are some further links, containing more information on fake news and how to spot it: