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Fake News vs. Real News: What's Fake News

How to determine actual and reliable information on the internet and in social media feeds

Fake News

                                        bar graph indicating confidence levels of respondents

The statistic shows the levels of confidence about being able to recognize fake news in the United States in 2017. It was found that 27 percent of respondents felt that they were very confident in being able to spot fake news in 2017.

Source: Knight Foundation. "How Confident Are You That You Can Tell Real News from Fake News?." Statista - The Statistics Portal,, Accessed 26 Feb 2018


Is Fake News a problem?

Fake news is in the headlines, and there are quite few of programmers students have come to our rescue by creating apps to root out verified and unverified stories. The effort is commendable, and the technology impressive.  Unfortunately, the problem is harder to solve than that. In fact, it may be unsolvable in terms of creating perfect continua of information and information-based decision making. But there are ways to improve in these regards, and that is where our focus should lie.

Though fake news is a problem, it is not necessarily THE problem. The problem is the lack of objectivity among both creators and users of information, a lack which manifests itself on a sliding scale that looks something like this:

reportage scale.JPG

Taken from

How Fake News Goes Viral

This case study was published in The New York Times on November 11, 2016.

Fake News Creators

Fake Videos

Nearly all of us have been taken in by a video that was later found to have been doctored or faked. It is fairly easy to edit a video so that it looks like you made the basket or the hawk picked up the snake. Here are some of the most famous faked videos that fooled millions:

These Viral Videos Were Fake?!

Some tips to help you tell if a video is fake:

The Physics of Fake Videos

Tracker: The Free Video Analysis Tool

How to Verify a YouTube Video

This LibGuide was originally created by Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill and Lawrence MA. Adapted with permission.


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