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Evaluating sources

How to fact-check a news source

Fake news has been around for a long time, but the evolution of the 24-hour news cycle, global connectivity, and social media have increased the use of it. Find out how to spot fake news and avoid the pitfalls of researching in the age of misinformation by watching the video below.

How we do fact checks at The Conversation, The Conversation, 2017 CC BY 3.0

You might also like to take a look at this infographic produced by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) which provides ways to evaluate the validity of online news sources.

Steps to combat misinformation

  • Consider installing one of the browser plugins listed below to flag fake news in real time.
  • Look for visual clues. Fake news stories often have poor visuals, an unprofessional design, and photoshopped images.
  • If a story makes you suspicious or angry, dig deeper by using your research skills and critical analysis. Look for multiple credible sources that prove or refute the story. Ask yourself: how is this being reported elsewhere?
  • When in doubt, ask a librarian.

This information was compiled for the Harvard University Library's Fake News Libguide (2019).

Fact-Checking websites

  • RMIT Fact Check (Australian)
    Assesses the accuracy of claims made by politicians, advocacy groups, research bodies, public figures, and institutions.
  • Media Bias/Fact Check
    Fact-checking project created by nonpartisan, nonprofit Annenberg Public Policy Center in the United States.
  • Politifact
    American site rate the accuracy of claims made by elected officials.
    Explicitly researches and debunks myths, fake news, rumours, and misinformation online.
  • Hoaxy
    Provides visual representations of the spread and dissemination of fake news stories, created by Indiana University.
  • BS Detector
    Browser plug-in for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
  • SurfSafe
    Browser plug-in for Chrome.

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