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Disinformation & Fake News: Home

The proliferation of fake news during the presidential election of 2016 was alarming. Evaluating sources, media literacy, and information literacy are more important than ever. This guide will help when evaluating sources.

Ted Talk: Internet Filter Bubble and Exposure to Information

Verifying news stories monitors the accuracy of U.S. political stories.

PolitiFact: verifies political news stories.

Snopes: fact-checks Internet rumors and stories. 

CRAAP test

The CRAAP Test includes a list of questions to help determine if the information you find is reliable.  

Currency: The timeliness of the information.

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.

Authority: The source of the information.

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the information.

Purpose: The reason the information exists.

For more information and a list of questions on the CRAAP test, click here.

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Identifying fake news

Fake News Infographic

  • Avoid websites that end in “lo” ex: Newslo. These sites take pieces of accurate information and then packaging that information with other false or misleading “facts” (sometimes for the purposes of satire or comedy).

  • Watch out for websites that end in “” as they are often fake versions of real news sources  

  • Watch out if known/reputable news sites are not also reporting on the story. Sometimes lack of coverage is the result of corporate media bias and other factors, but there should typically be more than one source reporting on a topic or event.

  • Odd domain names generally equal odd and rarely truthful news.

  • Lack of author attribution may, but not always, signify that the news story is suspect and requires verification.

  • Some news organizations are also letting bloggers post under the banner of particular news brands; however, many of these posts do not go through the same editing process (ex: BuzzFeed Community Posts, Kinja blogs, Forbes blogs).

  • Check the “About Us” tab on websites or look up the website on Snopes or Wikipedia for more information about the source.

  • Bad web design and use of ALL CAPS can also be a sign that the source you’re looking at should be verified and/or read in conjunction with other sources.

  • If the story makes you REALLY ANGRY it’s probably a good idea to keep reading about the topic via other sources to make sure the story you read wasn’t purposefully trying to make you angry (with potentially misleading or false information) in order to generate shares and ad revenue.

  • If the website you’re reading encourages you to DOX individuals, it’s unlikely to be a legitimate source of news.

  • It’s always best to read multiple sources of information to get a variety of viewpoints and media frames. Some sources not yet included in this list (although their practices at times may qualify them for addition), such as The Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, and Fox News, vacillate between providing important, legitimate, problematic, and/or hyperbolic news coverage, requiring readers and viewers to verify and contextualize information with other sources.

  • For more tips on analyzing the credibility and reliability of sources, please check out School Library Journal (they also provide an extensive list of media literacy resources)


© 2016  by Melissa Zimdars.
The work 'False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and Satirical “News” Sources'
is made  available  under a  Creative Commons
Attribution 4.0  International  License. To  view  a copy of  this license, visit


Thanks to the Bristol Community College library for information sources for this libguide.

Fake news on social media

Check the account history of a source. Consider number of posts and how long the account has been active. If it claims to be a well know source(like CNN or CBS) and only has a few posts in its history, that will be a clue. If it's a well known source and the account has only been active a short time, that is another clue. Images can also be checked. Try  TinEye which is a reverse image search service. 

Facebook will be flagging stories of questionable legitimacy with a warning "Disputed by 3rd party fact-checkers." There are also plugins to help with fake news detection: Google Chrome plugins.

News databases (credible sources)

List of fake news sites