How to Spot Fake News

❝ Fake news is nothing new. But bogus stories can reach more people more quickly via social media than what good old-fashioned viral emails could accomplish in years past.

Concern about the phenomenon led Facebook and Google to announce that they’ll crack down on fake news sites, restricting their ability to garner ad revenue. Perhaps that could dissipate the amount of malarkey online, though news consumers themselves are the best defense against the spread of misinformation.

❝ Not all of the misinformation being passed along online is complete fiction, though some of it is. has been exposing false viral claims since the mid 1990s, whether that’s fabricated messages, distortions containing bits of truth and everything in between. Founder David Mikkelson warned in a Nov. 17 article not to lump everything into the “fake news” category. “The fictions and fabrications that comprise fake news are but a subset of the larger bad news phenomenon, which also encompasses many forms of shoddy, unresearched, error-filled, and deliberately misleading reporting that do a disservice to everyone,” he wrote…

My advice, the advice of the folks at –

Consult the experts. We know you’re busy, and some of this debunking takes time. But we get paid to do this kind of work. Between,, the Washington Post Fact Checker and, it’s likely at least one has already fact-checked the latest viral claim to pop up in your news feed…

❝ On our Viral Spiral page, we list some of the claims we get asked about the most; all of our Ask FactChecks can be found here. And if you encounter a new claim you’d like us to investigate, email us at

13 thoughts on “How to Spot Fake News

  1. Hadamovsky says:

    ”Maine Governor Suggests He Invents Fake Stories, Feeds Them to News Media “I just love to sit in my office and make up ways so they’ll write these stupid stories,” LePage said. “They are just so stupid it’s awful. I tell you, the sooner the print press goes away, the better society will be.”
    On Thursday night, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow warned other media outlets that she believes she was provided forged National Security Agency documents alleging collusion between a Trump campaign official and Russia’s efforts to influence last year’s presidential election. For perspective see Killian documents controversy

  2. By the pricking of my thumbs... says:

    “Pro-Trump mega-company purchases four Montana TV stations” (Montana Standard 7/8/17)
    “Sinclair Broadcast Group is finding out how harsh the national spotlight can be” (Baltimore Sun 7/7/17)
    “Trump Uses Power of FCC to Pay Back Friends at Sinclair Broadcasting” (FAIR 5/8/17)
    “Boris Epshteyn, a former Trump surrogate, now defends him as a Sinclair TV pundit” (Washington Post 6/19/17)

  3. Dualist says:

    “Was Qatar a victim of fake news? : The United Arab Emirates denies hacking Qatar’s news agency with false stories which triggered the Gulf crisis.” “Create your news and prank your friends. Share them on social networks! What are you waiting for?”
    “Many people can’t tell when photos are fake. Can you?”

  4. Toka Kihuti says:

    “How fake news almost destroyed two Kenyan tribes : Rumors made two tribes go to war in rural Kenya, until they learned the facts.” Al Jazeera producer Priyanka Tilve traveled to Kenya’s Tana River County to see how the tribes are coping. It includes a local, innovative solution in the fight against fake news. See also “Rohingya: Hate speech, lies and media miniformation”

  5. Poisoning the Well says:

    “Was Anthony Bourdain About to Expose an Elite Pedophile Ring?” “Some fake news sites just can’t get over their obsessions with pederasty, likely because it makes for effective clickbait material.”
    Meanwhile: #QANON Conspiracy Theorists Are Hunting for ‘Child Sex Camps’ in the Arizona Desert
    In 1984, news reports that hundreds of children had been abused at a California preschool helped spread panic across the nation.

  6. Footnote says:

    A U.S. nuclear bomb exploded off the South Carolina coast after U.S. military leaders refused an order by Pres. Barack Obama to destroy Charleston in a false-flag operation to create chaos in the United States, an apparently Russian-backed “newspaper” claimed on Oct. 12. 2013.
    Years before fake news planted by Russian agents boosted the United Kingdom’s disastrous Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the shadowy European Union Times tried to convince gullible readers that Obama nearly nuked America.

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