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Post-Truth and Fake News

An Introduction to Post-Truth & Fake News

What is Fake News?

  • Fake News IS intentionally misleading hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation purported to be real news often using social media to amplify effect.
  • Fake news IS NOT simply news that someone does not like or does not agree with or is viewed as negative. Fake news is not "fake" because you don't like what is being reported; it is "fake" because it is intentionally, purposefully misleading.

Post-Truth Tips

  • Read, watch, and listen to information from multiple sources.
  • Don't take opinion and commentary at face value. Question assumptions.
  • Check your biases. Ask yourself why you feel the way you feel. 
  • Be open to different and new perspectives. 
  • You are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts.

Types of Fake News

There are four broad categories of fake news, according to media professor Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College.

CATEGORY 1: Fake, false, or regularly misleading websites that are shared on Facebook and social media. Some of these websites may rely on “outrage” by using distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information in order to generate likes, shares, and profits.

CATEGORY 2: Websites that may circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information

CATEGORY 3: Websites which sometimes use clickbait-y headlines and social media descriptions

CATEGORY 4: Satire/comedy sites, which can offer important critical commentary on politics and society, but have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news

No single topic falls under a single category - for example, false or misleading medical news may be entirely fabricated (Category 1), may intentionally misinterpret facts or misrepresent data (Category 2), may be accurate or partially accurate but use an alarmist title to get your attention (Category 3) or may be a critique on modern medical practice (Category 4.)  Some articles fall under more than one category.  It is up to you to do the legwork to make sure your information is good.