On this page
Here are some strategies for identifying it.
How to spot fake news in eight simple steps
How to spot fake news in eight simple steps (text version)
Try a quiz
Think you can tell a legitimate story from a fake one just from the headline? Try a quiz:
Can you spot the deceptive Facebook post?
From the New York Times, September 2018.
What is "fake news," and how can you spot it?
A 2017 quiz from the Globe & Mail.
Watch a video
This video (4:35) features University of Washington professors Carl Bergstrom and Jevin D. West sharing three quick tips for spotting lies and misinformation. (From Grist, a nonprofit independent media organisation focussing on climate solutions, March 30 2021.)
Tips for interpreting breaking news
"'Whatever you might hear in the first couple of hours after a major news event, you should probably take it all with a grain of salt,' says Andy Carvin, senior strategist on NPR's [National Public Radio's] Digital Desk." WNYC's On the Media podcast producers have created the Breaking News Consumer's Handbook, a nine-point checklist for evaluating the first reports of major events.
Breaking News Consumer's Handbook description (text version)
Academic sources and strategies
For general strategies for evaluating sources, see our Finding and evaluating resources guide, or use Library Search for more in-depth or course- and discipline-specific articles, books, etc. (try terms like "fake news" or "evaluating").
You can also take a for-credit course, taught by Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin West at the University of Washington, "because we are confident that together all of us can make better collective decisions if we know how to evaluate the information that comes our way." (From their FAQs.)
Our Search tips for Google and Google Scholar page includes more advanced tools you can use to trace the origins of false stories -- as well as images.
For strategies for researching academic topics, including evaluating resources in the various disciplines, check the subject-based research guides created by SFU subject specialist librarians.
Tools and strategies from journalists
The BBC (in the United Kingdom) covers current misinformation and false claims in international news in their weekly Reality Check feature.
Attribution: About the How to Spot Fake News infographic
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) created this infographic (based on FactCheck.org’s 2016 article How to Spot Fake News). "Download, print, translate, and share – at home, at your library, in your local community, and in social media networks. The more we crowdsource our wisdom, the wiser the world becomes. You can also check out FactCheck.org’s video based on the article."