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Knowledge Is Power: Fighting Misinformation, Disinformation, and Junk News

Fake news is not news you disagree with.

Fake news entirely fabricates information, disseminates deceptive content, or grossly distorts actual news reports.

"Fake news" is "fabricated information that mimics news media content in form but not in organizational process or intent. Fake-news outlets, in turn, lack the news media's editorial norms and processes for ensuring the accuracy and credibility of information. Fake news overlaps with other information disorders, such as misinformation (false or misleading information) and disinformation (false information that is purposely spread to deceive people)." [David M. J. Lazer, et al., "The Science of Fake News," Science 09 Mar 2018: Vol. 359, Issue 6380, pp. 1094-1096.].

Other Types of Bad Information Sources

Adapted from definitions used by Melissa Zimdars' Open Sources project that classifies websites for credibility and

Lexicon of Lies: Terms for Problematic Information.

Misinformation: Information whose inaccuracy is unintentional. This includes information reported in error.

Disinformation: Information that is deliberately false or misleading.

Conspiracy Theories: Conspiratorial beliefs can involve not only a willful rejection of scientific consensus but also false attributions of intent to members of the scientific community, as well as the fabrication of relationships between actors. For this reason, conspiratorial beliefs are typically understood as distinct from simple ignorance or misperception about isolated facts.

Gaslighting: A term derived from the 1938 play (and 1944 film) Gas Light, has been used to describe situations in which a person orchestrates deceptions and inaccurately narrates events to the extent that their victim stops trusting their own judgments and perceptions.

Satire: Sources that use humor, irony, exaggeration, ridicule, and false information to comment on current events.

Parody: A form of satire that exaggerates the notable features of a public figure, artist, or genre.

Hoax: A deliberate deception that plays on people's willingness to believe.

State-sponsored News: Sources in repressive states operating under government sanction. Propaganda.

Junk Science: Sources that promote pseudoscience, metaphysics, naturalistic fallacies, and other scientifically dubious claims.

Hate News: Sources that actively promote racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of bias and discrimination.

Clickbait: Sources that provide generally credible content, but use exaggerated, misleading, or questionable headlines, social media descriptions, and/or images.

Some News Literacy Vocabulary

cloaked sites appear unbiased and professional but actually advocate on behalf of an organization or cause while concealing their true sources of funding and purpose.

confirmation bias: the tendency to believe information is credible if it conforms to the reader’s/viewer’s existing belief system, or not credible if it does not conform

container collapse: term for our trouble discerning the original information container, format or information type–blog, book, pamphlet, government document, chapter, magazine, newspaper, journal, or section of the newspaper or magazine or journal–once publishing cues are removed and every source looks like a digital page or a printout.

content farm or content mill: a company that employs a staff of freelance writers to create content designed to satisfy search engine retrieval algorithms with the goal of attracting views and advertising revenue.

echo chamber:In news media an echo chamber is a metaphorical description of a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission and repetition inside an “enclosed” system, where different or competing views are censored, disallowed, or otherwise underrepresented.” (Wikipedia)

fact checking: the act of verifying assertions either prior to publication or after dissemination of the content

filter bubble: When search tools present us with the stories we are likely to click on or share based on our past activity, potentially affirming our biases, we need may be experiencing what Eli Pariser calls a filter bubble.

herding phenomenon: as more journalists begin to cover a story, even more journalists are likely to join the herd, imitating the angle the story initially took rather than developing alternate or original approaches or angles.

native advertising: paid, sponsored content designed to look like the legitimate content produced by the media outlet

satisficing: a portmanteau of the words satisfy and suffice introduced by Herbert Simon in 1956 to refer to the tendency of people, bounded by time limitations, to select good enough information over optimal information

sockpuppet: an online identity created to pose as a party unaffiliated with the media puppeteer in order to deceive.

triangulation or cross verification: Researchers establish validity by using several research methods and by analyzing and examining multiple perspectives and sources in the hope that diverse viewpoints will can shed greater light on a topic.

virality: the rapid circulation of media from one user to another.  When we forward sensational stories, often from social media without checking their credibility in other sources, we increase their virality.

Credit: Truth, truthiness, triangulation: A news literacy toolkit for a “post-truth” world. (2016, November 26). NeverEndingSearch.