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What is Fake News?

The New York Times defined "fake news" on the Internet as false articles deliberately fabricated to deceive readers, generally with the goal of profiting through clickbait. Clickbait is content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page.

PolitiFact described fake news as fabricated content designed to fool readers and subsequently made viral through the Internet to large groups of people who further disseminate it.

Fake New and Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter enable information sharing among their users, and many of these platforms present 'news' items, ads or 'sponsored content' in a manner that makes it difficult to distinguish real news sources from spoofed sites, or hoax sites. Most social media platform ad space is sold through brokers, meaning the platform often has no idea what is being advertised on their site. These characteristics make social media platforms an ideal place for fake news to flourish.

A good example of this can be seen in this article, where Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s post about fake news is lined up beside two fake news items.

How to Spot Fake News

Who

What

When

Where

Why

Websites

Library Resources

Books, eBooks, and eVideos

eResearch

Find credible information from digital magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias, and other resources available online through the library. Free with your valid Toronto Public Library card

Librarians

When in doubt, ask a librarian! Librarians are trained on how to search for information and how to evaluate it, and we can help you find reliable information both online and in print. You can book a 30 or 60 minute appointment with a librarian for help with research.

Additional Resources

Research Guides