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Misinformation and Disinformation: Why Misinformation & Disinformation Matters

Information on misinformation and disinformation and methods to identify such sources.

So what? Why should you care about whether or not your news is real or fake?

  1. You deserve the truth.  You are smart enough to make up your own mind - as long as you have the real facts in front of you.  You have every right to be insulted when you read fake news, because you are in essence being treated like an idiot.
  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 and misleading medical advice like and 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 want to buy stock in a company, you want to read accurate articles about that company so you can invest wisely.  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 make money or make the world a better place, but real news can.

Used under common license from University of West Florida. See their Fake News LibGuide here.

Why People Fall for Misinformation

How to Choose Your News

Six questions that will tell you what media to trust

  1. Type: What kind of content is this?
  2. Source: Who and what are the sources cited and why should I believe them?
  3. Evidence: What’s the evidence and how was it vetted?
  4. Interpretation: Is the main point of the piece proven by the evidence?
  5. Completeness: What’s missing?
  6. Knowledge: Am I learning every day what I need?

Read more about each of these questions on the American Press Institute website here.

How False News Can Spread

How to Recognize A Fake News Story

How to Recognize a Fake News Story

Graphic from the Huffington Post. To read the complete story click here.

Triple Check Before You Share

Quoted excerpt from the video:

"Fake news sites and Facebook feeds, on the other hand, traffic in misinformation. My sense is that there are three buckets of these sites:

  1. Hoax sites with totally made-up news headlines that try to trick you;
  2. Hyperpartisan sites that aren't lying, per se, but are misleading, because they only share good news about your political party and bad news about the other party;
  3. "Hybrids" that purposely mix a little bit of fact and then a lot of fiction.

These sites aren't going away, so it's up to Internet users to spot fake news and avoid spreading it." - Brian Stelter for CNN Nov. 1, 2016.

To read the complete story click here.

Misinformation vs. Disinformation: How to Tell the Difference

Misinformation vs. Disinformation: How to Tell the Difference

Graphic from the Readers Digest. To read the complete story click here.

Is a source too liberal or too conservative to be trusted?

Fake: Searching For Truth In The Age Of Misinformation Documentary from Connecticut Public Television

Misinformation: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

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