Skip to main content

News and Media Literacy: Introduction & Background

fake news sites, evaluating news sites

The Problem of "Fake News"

The internet has always had its share of false or misleading information, but during the heated 2016 presidential campaign the subject of "fake news" itself became newsworthy.  Fake news usually takes the form of a short article with a provocative headline, which individuals share with friends via social media so many times that it will frequently go viral.  These articles generally look like "real" news stories from legitimate news outlets (like newspapers or television stations), but include information that is typically misleading, heavily biased, or even completely made up.  How serious is the problem?  Serious enough that, according to an analysis by the journalist Craig Silverman, the top fake election news stories about the 2016 election "generated more total engagement on Facebook than top election stories from 19 major news outlets combined." (Below, you'll find a link to this article, "How Fake Election News Stories Outperformed Real News on Facebook.")

This guide provides links to various articles and other resources that will help explain how and why fake news has become a problem, how to identify a fake news story (and how to do your own fact-checking of a suspicious article), and what can be done to improve the situation.  There are even links to a few typical fake news stories, as well as case studies that provide examples of identifying and exposing articles in which false information is masquerading as actual news.

Contact Me

Jim Allard, MLIS Learning Commons Librarian's picture
Jim Allard, MLIS Learning Commons Librarian
Learning Commons
1250 Turner Street
Auburn, ME 04210

What is "Fake News," and Why is it a Problem?

Central Maine Community College Library - 1250 Turner St., Auburn, Maine 04210 - Telephone: (207)755-5218 - Fax: (207)755-5494
Central Maine Community College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and employer.
For more information, please call (207) 755-5100. [ Full Non-Discrimination Notice]