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Fake News and Misinformation: What is Fake News and Why Care?

Why Fake News Matters

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What is fake news?

Fake News is the deliberate spread of misinformation with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically. Fake News is related to propaganda whose purpose is to spread information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

Fake news comes in many formats:

  • Pure fake news sites use fabricated stories to lure traffic, encourage clicks (click bait), influence or profit using intentionally deceptive, but highly intriguing, often sensational information.

  • Hoax sites also share false information with the intention to trick readers/viewers

  • Satirical sites present news with a comical, often exaggerated spin

  • Born digital images and edited images alter and often misrepresent visual reality

Source: Library Journal

Why Should You Care?

Why should you care whether your news is real or fake?

  • You deserve the truth. You are an intelligent human being and can make up your own mind when presented with genuine facts. When you have an important decision to make, you do not want that decision to be based on fallacies. 
  • Citing fake sources ruins your credibility. If your arguments are based on information that has been proven false, it undermines your reputation as a scholar and a professional.
  • Fake news can cause harm. Particularly with regard to the medical field, misleading and false information can lead to negative health risks, lack of professional treatment, and incorrect self diagnosis. 
  • Fake news has expensive costs. From an economic standpoint, fake news costs Americans billions in investment funds. From a social perspective, fake news creates distrust and skepticism in the mass media.

How to Spot Fake News Video


Source: IFLA

Types of Misinformation

types of misleading news