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Fake News

Defining "Fake News"

Fake news is not news you disagree with.

"Fake news" is "fabricated information that mimics news media content in form but not in organizational process or intent. Fake-news outlets, in turn, lack the news media's editorial norms and processes for ensuring the accuracy and credibility of information. Fake news overlaps with other information disorders, such as misinformation (false or misleading information) and disinformation (false information that is purposely spread to deceive people)."

Lazer, D. M., Baum, M. A., Benkler, Y., Berinsky, A. J., Greenhill, K. M., Menczer, F., ... & Schudson, M. (2018). The science of fake news. Science, 359(6380), 1094-1096.

Types of "Fake News"

There are many types of "Fake News." Claire Wardle of First Draft, an organization that supports academics and others addressing challenges regarding truth in the digital age, created the following infographic detailing 7 types of mis- and disinformation that sit on a scale, one that loosely measures intended deception.

 

FirstDraft - 7 Types of Mis- and Disinformation graphic

 


OpenSources, a resource aimed at assessing web information headed by Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College, classifies sites in the following ways: 

  • Fake News: Sources that entirely fabricate information, disseminate deceptive content, or grossly distort actual news reports.
  • Satire: Sources that use humor, irony, exaggeration, ridicule, and false information to comment on current events.
  • Extreme Bias: Sources that come from a particular point of view and may rely on propaganda, decontextualized information, and opinions distorted as facts.
  • Conspiracy Theory: Sources that are well-known promoters of kooky conspiracy theories.
  • Rumor Mill: Sources that traffic in rumors, gossip, innuendo, and unverified claims.
  • State News: Sources in repressive states operating under government sanction.
  • Junk Science: Sources that promote pseudoscience, metaphysics, naturalistic fallacies, and other scientifically dubious claims.
  • Hate News: Sources that actively promote racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination.
  • Clickbait: Sources that provide generally credible content, but use exaggerated, misleading, or questionable headlines, social media descriptions, and/or images.
  • Proceed With Caution: Sources that may be reliable but whose contents require further verification.
  • Political: Sources that provide generally verifiable information in support of certain points of view or political orientations.
  • Credible: Sources that circulate news and information in a manner consistent with traditional and ethical practices in journalism (Remember: even credible sources sometimes rely on clickbait-style headlines or occasionally make mistakes. No news organization is perfect, which is why a healthy news diet consists of multiple sources of information).

We Need Web Literacy

 

Mike Caulfield, a primary proponent of evolving media literacy, is currently the director of blended and networked learning at Washington State University Vancouver, and head of the Digital Polarization Initiative of the American Democracy Project, a multi-school pilot to change the way that online media literacy is taught. View his talk below about how do better when teaching web literacy.

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