Prior to the 2016 election, fake news existed as within newspaper tabloids and satirical features on popular TV shows. However, during the 2016 election, fake news began circulating social media at an alarming rate. These news stories contain hoaxes, propaganda, and misinformation that are presented as fact to drive web traffic inflamed by social media. The creators of fake news mislead and profit from readers' gullibility.
Part of the Information Fluency initiative at UNT is for our students to be able to identify, analyze, and fact check fake news. This guide is intended to assist with those goals.
Real News VS Fake News
When conducting research, engaging with news sources, or scrolling through your FaceBook feed, be aware that fake news is out there.
1.You deserve the truth. You are smart enough to make up your own mind - as long as have the real facts in front of you. You have every right to be insulted when you read fake news.
2. Fake news destroys your credibility. If your arguments are built on bad information, it will be much more difficult for people to believe you in the future.
3. Fake news can hurt you, and a lot of other people. Purveyors of fake medical advice like Mercola.com and NaturalNews.com help perpetuate myths like HIV and AIDS aren't related, or that vaccines cause autism. These sites are heavily visited and their lies are dangerous.
4. Real news can benefit you. If you are writing a research paper, your professor will expect you to vet your sources. If you are planning on voting in an election, you want to read as much good information on a candidate so you can vote for the person who best represents your ideas and beliefs. Fake news will not help you get a good grade or make the world a better place, but real news can.
Reference:Tavernise, Sabrina (7 December 2016), "As Fake News Spreads Lies, More Readers Shrug at the Truth", The New York Times, p. A1, retrieved 13 December 2016.
Source: https://www.statista.com/chart/6795/fake-news-is-a-real-problem/. Accessed 2016.
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